26 September 2022

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) congratulates Brett McCallum on his induction into the Seafood Industry Hall of Fame at the 2022 Seafood Directions Conference.

The Hall of Fame is presented to persons who have made substantial positive differences to the seafood industry over at least twenty years. The differences that these people have made is normally at a national level, often beyond the bounds of their enterprise or employment and uncompensated. They have outstanding personal and leadership qualities and are highly respected throughout the seafood industry.

This well-deserved recognition comes from over 40 years’ experience in the commercial fishing, pearling and aquaculture industries.

“Recognition by your peers is the highest accolade one can have bestowed upon them. This recognition is also of those many hundreds of fishers, pearlers and aqua culturalists, government managers and research scientists I have had the privilege to work with over the years,” says Brett.

Brett has a strong belief in inclusiveness and a passion for empowering industry stakeholders through providing them with the necessary information to make informed, responsible decisions about their industry. He actively encourages younger people in industry to take on leadership roles – often mentoring them along the way.

“My passion for the industry was instilled in me early by Michael Kailis who gave me my first opportunity in the industry.

I was encouraged at a very early age to become involved in the pioneering industry/government co-management approaches introduced in the 1980s and was guided by many of the doyens of industry at the time – Kailis, France, Raptis, Cole, Gibson, Jeffriess, Ritchie, Carter, Exel, Bowen and Rogers. I know what a difference it made to me to have these people to learn from and I try to help the young leaders coming through in the same way.”

Brett reflected on changes he’s seen in the industry and key take-away messages from this year’s Seafood Directions Conference.

“Industry has always thrived on the strength of the family businesses and regional community approach to making things happen. The introduction of limited entry fisheries and quota managed fisheries has driven a more business like approach to the industry but the basics of strong family/regional community are still the bedrock.

Unfortunately, economics has driven significant consolidation of fishing opportunities to sustain profitability, but this has also provided the focus on how to better apply capital in a more progressive approach to vessel design, gear design, product development, market development, technological innovation and truly great science.

The greater interest in the marine world by the general community has driven our industry to the very top of the sustainability tree, made us grow up while defending our credentials in the environmental debates around ESD, marine parks and other access debates. The strength the industry has shown has been remarkable.

However, our industry remains true to its roots. There is no great hierarchy between fishers and government – it is right there in your face, no huge company structures, hundreds of shareholders, or myriad companies. It remains, primarily, family businesses with multiple generations working hard in all conditions.

Change is required and change is healthy. The climate impacts are very real, and we have the human credentials and technological opportunities to address that impact in a very progressive way. People working together still remains the driving force to make this happen.”

Brett’s https://www.afma.gov.au/about/afma-commission 

Image courtesy: Seafood Directions 2002 Facebook page.