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Sustainable Seafood

March 4th, 2011 nola


This week heralds the opening of the prawn season and fishers will be at sea for the next three weeks before bringing back the first bounty of prawns of the season.  These fabulous morsels are the culinary icons of our region and to consume or serve an imported alternative should be deemed as sacrilege.

Strangely enough there is a assumption that our fishing industry does not care about over fishing and the extinction of a seafood, but that if far from the truth.  With the exception of a minute number of rogue fishers, the Queensland seafood industry as a whole care very much for the ‘hand that feeds them’ and have self monitored and governed their fishing areas for many years and in 2001 a local group formed Eco-fish to formalise their activities.  The Australian fishing industry is possibly the most regulated of its kind in the world and thus we have seasons, quotas and environmental regulations for each fishing sector.  Hence the prawn season!

A publication of the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s (AMCS) Sustainable Seafood Guide recently caught my attention with over 100 species relegated to the categories of Better Choice, Think Twice, or Say No.  I was surprised to see such a large number of seafood condemned to the Think Twice, or Say No category, so my scepticism led me to investigate. 

Fortunately I didn’t have to look very far to find Nick Ruello who lives in Cairns and is a former fisheries scientist, Sydney fish merchant and consultant.  For the past 45 years he has worked with many Australian businesses and national and international R & D projects on fisheries management and seafood processing, marketing, and quality assurance. He is a Slow Food member and acts as a seafood advisor on the Ark of Taste program. He is a founding member of the Australian Society for Fish Biology and a board member on two seafood industry organizations. He has an MSc degree from Sydney University and lesser qualifications in various fields.  

Mentioning this publication touched a raw nerve with Nick.   As he explains “Quite a few of their assessments are poorly founded and many of the Think Twice recommendations are so vague and general they are of little use”  Nick gives the example “All trawl caught prawns are relegated to the Think Twice category although Australian trawlers are world leaders in sustainable harvesting, by-catch reduction and minimising environmental impacts and the major fisheries pass the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act assessment”.

Nick contrasts the AMCS approach with the considered, constructive efforts being made by the Australian Conservation Foundation in collaboration with government fisheries managers, the University of Technology Sydney and the seafood industry to guide consumers to more sustainable seafood choices

It is concerning when a ‘guide’ can be published with misleading information that can impact on an industry and on what we feel comfortable with at our dinner table.   Here is the full report of Nick’s findings   amcs-observns-26feb  


So in three week, grab a kilo of fresh prawns and ‘enjoy’.

Job Vacancies

January 11th, 2011 nola


Billy Kwong Kitchen Positions Vacant
10th January 2011

Kylie Kwong is looking for qualified and passionate chefs to join her team. Please email your resume to


enquiries@billykwong.org or fax to 9332 4109

Organics Feasibility Report

November 29th, 2010 nola

Researching the Potential to Develop an Organics Farming Concept on the Southern Tablelands

This report was prepared by Bob Cobavie of Outsource Management P/L  in conjunction with Advance Cairns and supported by DEEDI.

To view the report click on the following:









Building your online business

November 25th, 2010 nola


The Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation invites you to take part in a comprehensive activity-based workshop series where you will learn how to increase business profitability using website technology.


Social media for business
Wednesday 1 December 2010

Presented by Nicky Jurd of Precedence
This session will examine the various social media tools available and how you can best use these tools to market your business. Examine reputation management and how to avoid the mistakes businesses often make while marketing in the social arena. Explore Twitter, Facebook, blogs and review websites such as TripAdvisor.

Where to from here
Thursday 2 December 2010

This session will review eastern alamance hgh school the content covered in the previous three workshops. Attendees will be provided with a workbook to help prepare for the further advance with their online business. This session will have all three presenters available to address any questions.


5.30pm – 8.30pm on the dates specified


Cairns Centre
Ground floor, Corner Grafton and Hartley Street


$33.00 (incl GST*)


To register please complete the registration form and return to the Cairns Centre at the details below.


Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation
Telephone: 07 4048 1111
Facsimile: 07 4048 1122
Email: businessassist.cairns@deedi.qld.gov.au

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A Future for our Agri-Food Industry

November 24th, 2010 nola


Imaging in 10 years time where our agri-food industry will be?  With our rich soils, plenty of sun and an abundance of rainfall, will it be the nation’s food bowl?  Will we have a food manufacturing industry to support the diverse range of food products available?   Will our regional food brand Taste Paradise be as renowned as Food Barossa?   …and will our region be internationally recognised as a food tourism destination similar to Provence, Tuscany or San Sebastian?  It is said that nothing significant happens that isn’t planned!

Two week’s ago I attended an Agri-food tourism field day and Food Industry forum held in the Cassowary and Tablelands areas.  These four well attended workshops proved that farmers are interested in the future of the industry. 

The field day looked at opportunities to diversify their farming product in a number of ways that included linkages into tourism.  Whether it’s selling food at local farmers markets, processing their product, finding a supply chain to local retail & food services, or opening their property for visitation, these farmers were positively encouraged to take the next step; a series of workshops of mentoring their way through a maze of related business development skills. 

The forums were about bringing the industry together; development of a local food supply chain that brings regional produce into the Cairns area, to retailers and restaurants, and developing an accreditation framework that links to the new regional food brand; Taste Paradise.  The sessions lead by Rose Wright from the Southern Cross University provided a great discussion.  This lady knows her stuff when working along the supply chain from farmers to the consumer but she also works on a political level of compliance support and regulatory reform to address the impediments placed on agribusiness entrepreneurs.    At the end of the forum it was exciting to see a very positive response from farmers, and it goes without saying the more who embrace this framework, the better chance of success. 

Rose is finalising a Regional Food Strategy 2010-2020 in consultation with industry and will facilitate the elements in the region over the next six months.

If you are looking for new opportunities,  are interested in diversifying your primary product or venturing into Agri-Food Tourism, contact Nola Craig at info@australiantropicalfoods.com

Pitching your Business

November 24th, 2010 nola

Export Master Class

Learn how to effectively pitch your product, service or companyand close export deals. Good pitching skills will give you the edge against local and international competition.

Time         10.15 am for 10.30 am to 2.30 pm
Date          Tuesday 30 November 2010
Venue      Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation
                   Cairns Regional Centre, Ground Floor, Cairns Port Authority Building
                   Cnr Grafton and Hartley Streets, Cairns
Cost          $44 (incl. GST)
RSVP       Please RSVP using the attached payment and registration form


For more information click here..

Managing Your Export Risk

November 24th, 2010 nola

Export Masterclass

Exporting can be a highly profitable, rewarding strategy for your business to achieve success in international markets.
The risks in exporting can be effectively managed.
This master class will show you how to put in place techniques to protect your company from the risks associated with export, including a simple riskmanagement plan for your business.

Time          10.15 am for 10.30 am to 2.30 pm
Date           Tuesday 7 December 2010
Venue       Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation
                    Cairns Regional Centre Ground Floor, Cairns Port Authority Building
                    Cnr Grafton and Hartley Streets, Cairns
Cost          $44 (incl. GST)
RSVP        Please RSVP using the attached payment and registration form


For more information click here

Have an opinion on Local Food

November 24th, 2010 nola


You can assist in a survey for the development of a Regional Food System that will support the production, distribution and sale of local food for local consumption.  The outcomes of the survey will help support our local farmers, provide healthy, fresh, seasonal, regional food to our local community and create authentic local tourism experiences that will have visitors raving about the amazing food offering experienced in Tropical North Queensland. 

There are four different surveys for; Local residents, Local food producers, Tourism and Hospitality businesses, and Visitors. 

Click here for the Advance Cairns  Tropical North Queensland Food Supply Surveys  and you could win $250 worth of premium seafood from Cairns Ocean Products

Ochre Restaurant Wins Taste Paradise Signature Dish Competition

November 24th, 2010 nola


Craig Squire won the award for his Tempura bugs, papaya salad, with sweet chilli lemon myrtle dipping sauce.      

This dish was chosen for its innovative use of local ingredients that is the essence of Tropical North Queensland      

The Public Vote Winner was  Tropical Pan seared Tuna salad laced with a Mango vinaigrette’ by Chriso the Personal Chef with 464 votes      

Finalists included
1         Tier of mud crab, mango and avocado  from Kewarra Beach Resort      

2         Julaymba Journey by Julaymba Restaurant at Daintree Eco Lodge

Three innovative  finalist dishes were cooked off in front of the public and a panel of judges at the Pier at the Marina  on Saturday 13th November, to declare  the winning dish that was considered the essence of Tropical North Queensland,  on the presentation and how innovatively the chef has used local regional produce so that every mouthful says ‘Taste Paradise’.

Joel Salatin – RegenAG Public Talk

November 24th, 2010 nola