In July 2017 we opened our first round of bursary applications. Bursaries are aimed at future leaders of the Western Rock Lobster Industry and are targeted to (but not limited to) those actively engaged in fishing operations.
Reece Newbold, Rhys Towers and Ryan Labruyere were acknowledged as future leaders of our industry and we are pleased to have been able to assist them in attending the 10th Trans-Tasman Rock Lobster Congress in Hobart in September 2017.
Attending the congress allowed our bursary winners to network with rock lobster fishers, managers and scientists from across Australia and New Zealand and engage in current industry discussions and debate in which they each took home their own messages.
“I think technology is the way forward for our fishery,” said Rhys Towers. “By utilising the technology becoming available to us we could perhaps improve the marketing of our premium product through more effective online marketing methods and traceability which could strengthen relationships between both supplier and consumer,” he said.
“This in turn could possibly increase demand for our premium product. The technology available both now and in the future will ensure our fishery remains 100% sustainable for generations to come.”
Reece Newbold said that he learnt that smart marketing of a product can pay off enormously for a fishery.
“The difference in price seen between the American and the Norwegian fishermen for the same product was staggering. It’s mostly due to clever marketing, good product handling and knowing who will pay the most for their product,” he said.
When comparing the Western Rock Lobster fishery to others in Australia, Rhys said our WA fishery seems to be the most sustainable.
“It contributes more to the economy and supports more employment than any other, not to mention we have the highest TACC and CPUE than any other lobster fishery in Australia!” he said.
Ryan Labruyere said “The WA rock lobster industry is very healthy in the way of product availability and the sustainability is way higher.”
“The main lesson I learnt at the congress is that we all supply one market (China) pretty much and let’s just hope China doesn’t stop buying the product,” he said.
All bursary winners agreed that the most valuable part of attending the congress was that it gave them the opportunity to network with others in the rock lobster industry.
The WRLC are excited to be able to offer more opportunities like this to young industry leaders over the coming years. Keep a look out for the next round of bursary applications.