Martin Exel: Summary of Third USI Task Force Meeting

Summary of the Third Meeting (1 June 2016) of the United Seafood Industries Task Force

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

Martin ExelThe USI Leadership Task Force met face-to-face at the Melbourne Seafood Centre to progress their report for the upcoming Industry Forum. The Task Force received inputs from a range of industry perspectives, and had an opportunity to informally meet with several board members of the Melbourne Seafood Centre, including Andy McLaughlin, George Miriklis, Kelly Argyros, and Nathan White.

Vision and Mission

Feedback on the draft vision and mission statements from a variety of sources was considered, and the Task Force agreed on the need for a revised, simplified, and more focused approach to ensure that the Vision and Mission clearly identified what the new Peak Body was “about”.

In order to provide greater clarity, the Task Force also agreed to propose a name for the new Peak Body.  The proposed name, vision, mission, and ‘tag line’ for the new Peak Body was resolved as:

Name:                         Seafood Australia

Vision Statement:        To be united and respected

Mission Statement:     To Coordinate, Communicate and Advocate

Tagline:                       The voice of Australian seafood


The Task Force had an extensive discussion on structural models, with emphasis on the hybrid model, which is a combination of businesses and associations

Further work will take place over coming weeks to refine models for consideration at the Forum meeting.   Specific criteria were devised to identify what any structural model would need to deliver, including aspects such as providing for equity of membership for all levels in the seafood industry, from small individual operators, through to representative bodies and corporate groups.


The Task Force reiterated that it would not recommend the use of a statutory levy for funding, given the evident lack of popularity with the broader industry.

The discussion then moved on to consider funding models, with the Task Force investigating different variations of a ‘tiered fee’ model, to provide scope for different fee levels (e.g. for small or big businesses/resource groups/associations).  The aim was to retain maximum flexibility and encourage maximum participation in the Peak Body, while at the same time ensuring there is sufficient stability in the funding base to enable the body to operate effectively.


The Task Force considered elements of a Communications Strategy for explaining the peak body model to industry, following discussions at, and subject to agreement by, the United Seafood Industry forum on 13th-14th of July.

The Task Force also considered a number of visual designs for posters or promotional/educational material, which had been developed by a marketing agency and funded by Veronica Papacosta, to help develop ideas for promoting the peak body, if the Forum agrees to proceed.

Part 2 – The Peak Body Package

The Task Force have been working to develop aspects of the Peak Body in groups, with two members each working on the vision/mission, structure, funding and communications. It was agreed that, from this point forward, the Task Force would work on all aspects of the concept together, and prepare the  final report to be provided to the Forum.

With the vision and mission statement agreed, the group moved on to confirm what it believed a peak body could do for the industry, separating issues under the proposed mission statements, including:


  • Crisis Response (e.g. media, food safety)
  • Marine/aquatic development planning (e.g. MPAs, Aquaculture sites)
  • Industry priorities/strategy/policy development
  • Biosecurity responses
  • Community Respect


  • Promotion
  • Networking
  • Strategic Alliances


  • Policy (e.g. fuel rebate, Free Trade Agreements, food labeling, climate change, fish health)
  • Resource sharing (e.g. recreational fishing, indigenous fishing)

The Task Force identified it was going to be very important to have a consolidated list of  industry participants, to ensure that as broad a cross section of industry from the wild catch, aquaculture, and post-harvest groups can be provided with details on the proposed new Peak Body, and all have an opportunity to participate as Members.

As soon as the draft list is compiled, it will be distributed widely, to provide opportunity for people to check that their business, association, or resource group, is included, and to seek advice on a contact person(s) for the Forum to distribute the proposal to, when developed.

Next Meeting

The next scheduled Task Force meeting is via teleconference on the 22nd of June 2016. The group agreed that an additional meeting would be scheduled to further develop structural and funding models.

USI Leadership Task Force Members from left: Jonas Woolford, Katherine Winchester, Clive Perryman, Veronica Papacosta, Martin Exel (Chair), Barbara Konstas and Brian Ramsay (USI Project Manager)
USI Leadership Task Force Members from left: Jonas Woolford, Katherine Winchester, Clive Perryman, Veronica Papacosta, Martin Exel (Chair), Barbara Konstas and Brian Ramsay (USI Project Manager)


Martin Exel


2 June 2016






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