It is the opinion of OceanWatch Australia, that the seafood industry should be championed for providing sustainable access to our nation’s renewable food resources, produced in spite of all the land-based impacts that are currently diminishing the productivity of the marine environment. That is the seafood industry’s real story, but only the seafood industry can tell it.
Loaves and Fishes is a free seafood barbeque which has aimed to build community knowledge, unity and support for sustainable Australian wild harvest fisheries. In addition to the sea mullet barbeque, the event has aimed to improve community awareness and understanding of the NSW Ocean Haul Fishery, providing detailed information on ocean haul fishing methods, the history of fishing in the region dating back to the late 1800’s, indigenous participation and the role of women in industry.
Photographic displays highlight the ocean beach fishing seasons and the species targeted and caught by Australian fishermen on behalf of Australian seafood consumers. Importantly, information is displayed to highlight industry driven bycatch reduction research and Australia’s world class fisheries management.
The event has been held on Good Friday since 2011, with local fishers donating, processing and cooking over 500 kg of sea mullet which is consumed annually by approximately 700 community members and tourists. Attendees are encouraged to provide a gold coin donation and to purchase a ticket in the raffles, with all money raised donated to the local SLSC.
An evaluation of the event in 2013 helped to further improve engagement with the community and assess changes in community perception of the seafood industry following their attendance at the Loaves and Fishes activity.
2020 was the first year that OceanWatch was unable to hold the Loaves and Fishes BBQ due to the pandemic. Instead the fishers donated the sea mullet, usually destined for the BBQ to the local Aboriginal community.