The federal government has announced an expansion of Australian rock lobsters into a new Asian market, although the industry warns more catch efficiency is needed to make it profitable in the long term.
The government has announced an expansion of southern rock lobster exports into the South Korean market as work continues to establish new market pathways due to ongoing trade issues with China.
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said the expansion was valuable for Australian rock lobster producers, with South Korea a promising and growing market for local seafood.
"Our producers are able to meet South Korea's demand for premium and sustainably caught seafood," he said.
Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey has applauded the news and said this would be of great benefit to rock lobster fishers, including those on Eyre Peninsula.
"This comes on the back of a free trade agreement with South Korea and is now welcomed to offset the loss of market to China which had been a real blow, particularly for the southern rock lobster industry," he said.
"The last couple of years have shown us we can find new markets for our products and in many ways it's amazing how our many sectors have found a way to expand."
While the industry has welcomed the new market it is also looking to ensure it can be viable for the long term.
Northern Zone Rock Lobster Fishermen's Association executive officer Kyri Toumazos said the industry had been working hard to establish new markets and while South Korea had always been out of its price range for exports, with prices falling the way they have it had become a feasible option.
He said now the industry needed to focus on making the market a long term feasible option.
"It's good to have alternative markets, the problem is all those secondary markets are very price sensitive," he said.
Mr Toumazos said Australian lobsters had a high catching cost compared to the rest of the world so to move the product into a market like South Korea and be profitable in the long term was a difficult proposition.
"Ultimately what we need to do is all work together on regulatory improvements to catch our lobster more efficiently than how we are catching it now because reducing our cost structure can enable us to be competitive and profitable in those secondary markets," he said.
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