Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Walkers Tap Export Market for Wild Fish; Aussie Tuna Land Top Dollar in International Markets

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Walkers Tap Export Market for Wild Fish; Aussie Tuna Land Top Dollar in International Markets

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicky Moffat Nicky.Moffat@scnews.com.au

AS the sun rose over Mooloolaba last Wednesday, a precious haul was being unloaded from two boats docked at the wharf behind Parkyn Pde.

By the afternoon, the boatloads of wild-caught tuna will be on planes to Los Angeles, Boston and Hawaii after being unloaded, sorted and graded and trucked to Brisbane Airport.

Walker Seafoods Australia runs the largest wild-caught tuna fishery in Australia, and has the only sustainable yellowfin tuna fishing practice in the world certified by the globally recognised Marine Stewardship Council.

Most of its product is exported overseas to markets where people pay top-dollar for sustainably caught fish.

"I'm fielding calls every day from Europe and America wanting our fish, and I just don't have

enough to give," Walker Seafoods co-owner Heidi Walker said.

The MSC logo allows fish lovers - from home cooks to retailers and chefs - to identify fish that has been caught without threatening the health of the fish species and its ecosystem.

This safeguards the species - the industry that relies on it - against overfishing, while providing transparency about the origin of fish to the consumer.

Walker Seafoods Australia won this year's Sunshine Coast Business Award - Agribusiness, in recognition of its contribution to local employment, its marketing and exporting success.

The Mooloolaba-based business employs 40 locals and regularly uses about 50 tradespeople to maintain and repair equipment, and attracts overseas seafood buyers to Mooloolaba where they inevitably support other businesses, Heidi said.

"These people we sell to are now coming here," she said. "They'd never been to Mooloolaba before.

"We share the love a bit - get them to see the prawn guys while they're here."

The business began in 2001 after Heidi's husband Pavo, who had worked at the Sydney Ports Corporation as a skipper, decided to buy a fishing boat and start commercial fishing. …

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