Article – Carnarvon fishermen up production, as prawns packed for Japan

22 July 2014
Lucie Bell
ABC Rural

PHOTO: Carnarvon workers peel prawns at the Nor-West Seafoods factory.

Fishermen in the Western Australian coastal town of Carnarvon are busy packing their first prawn shipment of the year for the Japanese market.
Western Australian producers export a range of seafood to Asia including prawns, lobsters, scallops, abalone and crabs.

Brett Hogan is the marketing manager for local business Nor-West Seafoods, which has a 40-year relationship with Japanese customers.
He says they are currently looking at increasing production for that market.
“We’re loading the first of our 20 foot containers for Japan this week, it’ll take about two to three weeks to arrive.
“Normally we work on exporting 150 to 200 metric tonnes of prawns to Japan and we’re hoping to add between 20 and 25 per cent to that this year.”
Mr Hogan says that’s thanks to favourable market conditions and a rise in consumer confidence.
“I think the general market conditions see that both Australia and Japan are coming out of post-GFC issues relating to food imports.
“It’s also due to targeted close co-operation and work with our partners.”

Frozen prawns are packed for JapanPHOTO: WA prawns are packed and frozen, ahead of being shipped to Japan.

Mr Hogan says the company ships prawn to cities right across Japan, including Tokyo and Osaka.
“We’ll ship two to three containers every month, from now through until Christmas and the product is mainly consumed around end of year celebrations in Japan.”
Japan-Australia FTA an important step
The preparation of this prawn shipment follows the recent visit to WA by the Japanese Prime Minister, as part of his tour Down Under.
Brett Hogan says the recent ratification of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Australia and Japan was an important step in the bi-lateral relationship.
“I think it represents a good landmark in the relationship, which has always been strong, but it’s one that’s probably been a little bit overshadowed by recent commodity sales for minerals to China.
“It’s nice to rekindle the open friendship that we have and it’s certainly good for Australian companies.”
Part of the FTA included the removal of all tariffs on Australian prawns exported to Japan, but Mr Hogan says that won’t mean too much in terms of the company’s bottom line.
“Although any removal of tariffs is important, the actual tariffs related to prawns were relatively low, only one to two per cent was being applied as duty on the imports.
“But every little bit helps.”
Courtesy of ABC Rural