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Logistical support to counteract effect of SARS on the seafood industry.

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Logistical support to counteract effect of SARS on the seafood industry

AFFA03/085M 11 May 2003

As of Wednesday, 14 May 2003, the Australian seafood industry will have a dedicated international airfreight link on its web site to assist in recapturing Asian seafood markets that have been devastated by the recent SARS outbreak, the Federal Fisheries Minister, Senator Ian Macdonald, announced today.

"The SARS virus outbreak in a number of principle Asian seafood markets has led to a significant reduction in seafood exports, and reduced export and domestic prices," he said.

"The SARS virus comes at a difficult time for the export oriented seafood industry, which is dealing with an appreciating Australian dollar, and a softening Asian and world economic climate," said Senator Macdonald.

"Part of the difficulty has arisen from the reduction in international passenger flights to market destinations, such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the associated drop in availability of cargo space which has resulted from the SARS outbreak.

"In response, the Government and the Australian seafood industry's peak body, the Australian Seafood Industry Council (ASIC), have agreed to provide logistical support for the industry through the provision of a daily flight/cargo and logistical information service via the ASIC web site at The service will commence operations 14 May.

Australia's seafood industry is particularly vulnerable to market fluctuation given its reliance upon several key Asian markets. This latest initiative comes on the heels of the recently published export guide A$34 Billion Reasons to Access the US Seafood Market: A guide to exporting Australia's fisheries products to the United States, that was jointly developed by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (AFFA) and ASIC.

"When you have an Australian industry that exports the majority of its products to four key Asian markets, it becomes necessary to stimulate market diversification to protect against anomalies, like the 1998 Asian economic crisis and this SARS outbreak, that can drastically affect the viability of Australian seafood producers - and that's just what the Government/industry partnership has done, and is still doing," Senator Macdonald said.

"This new facility on the ASIC web site will not only assist with the short term logistical problems the industry is facing but will also ensure that when the SARS epidemic dissipates the seafood industry is in a strong position recapture, and hopefully increase the market share it previously enjoyed.

Further inquiries:

AFFA Fisheries: Jim Fitzgerald (02) 6272 5573 ASIC CEO: Russ Neal 0412 086 616 Senator Macdonald's office: Philip Connole (02) 6277 7270 or 0417 063 605