Martin Exel: Summary of Second USI Task Force Meeting

Summary of the Second Meeting (5 May 2016) of the United Seafood Industries Task Force

Written by Chair of the USI Task Force, Martin Exel of Austral 

Martin ExelThe Task Force held its second meeting via phone on Thursday 5th May. As decided in the first meeting, Task Force members were divided into pairs and allocated a specific term of reference to develop.

Vision and Mission – Katherine Winchester and Clive Perryman

Proposed vision and mission statements are in advanced stages of development. Task Force members will be providing individual feedback on the draft statements in the next few days, with a consolidated version to be posted on the USI website next week, along with some of the thinking behind what’s proposed.  Feedback from industry will be welcomed by the Task Force.

It was agreed in the first Task Force meeting that objectives for the National Peak Body are also important, and some examples of what it would do, and (importantly) would not do, will also be provided in the outline for consideration by industry.

Structure – Anthony Ciconte and Dallas Donovan

As Anthony and Dallas were unable to attend this meeting, the Task Force had a brief discussion on structures. It noted that research and critical thinking is well underway, with a draft options paper prepared which will be further developed for consideration at the Task Force meeting in June.

Inputs had also been received and considered from the CEO of Seafood NZ;   Robert Pender, Chair of the Fishermen’s Portal Inc.; and from Grahame Turk AM, Chair of the Sydney Fish Markets.

The Task Force noted that structure and funding are closely connected, and both driven by the Mission/Vision of the Peak Body, which is being refined first.  Following clarity of the Mission/Vision, the Task Force will refine recommended structure (and funding) outlines, which is expected to occur at the 1 June meeting.  That will provide time for further consultation and communication of concepts, before finalising the Task Force report to the USI Forum, on 30 June, 2016.

Funding- Barbara Konstas and Tim Hess

In addition to the funding paper prepared by Inovact, and comments from those submissions on structure and funding, Barbara undertook research into existing seafood industry peak bodies overseas, including Canada, Scotland, England, and the United States. The research indicates that these bodies use a variety of funding models, including grants from the government, sponsorship, services and fee-based membership.   They also have large board memberships as a general rule, with the exception of the USA.

The Task Force has identified several forms of voluntary membership funding models to investigate further. Members agreed that the Task Force will concentrate its efforts on exploring workable voluntary funding mechanisms and clarify that it is not investigating statutory levies, which have very low support from the broader seafood industry.

Communications- Veronica Papacosta and Jonas Woolford

The draft communications strategy for the Task Force was agreed as appropriate at this stage. The tools are proving effective in reaching industry associations and individual businesses through email updates, the news stream on the USI website, direct contact between Task Force members and industry, and social media.

Task Force members were encouraged to contribute their own blog posts for the website.

The broader communications strategy to discuss and promote any proposed National Peak Body is in the early stages of development, and will be clearly outlined in time for the final report to go to the USI Forum.

Next Meeting

The next Task Force meeting will be a face-to-face meeting held on the 1st of June in Melbourne.


Martin Exel


6 May 2016