FISH­ERS TAKE ON WORLD

Mooloolaba com­pany’s $1.2m ex­pan­sion de­liv­ers jobs, ex­ports

Sunshine Coast Daily - - FRONT PAGE - SARAH BARNHAM sarah.barnham@sc­news.com.au

A $1.2 MIL­LION ex­pan­sion of a Mooloolaba-based tuna com­pany means fish caught will come straight off the boats and onto the mar­ket.

Aus­tralia’s largest wild caught tuna com­pany Walker Seafoods has cel­e­brated the open­ing of its Parkyn Pa­rade fac­tory with a rib­bon-cut­ting cer­e­mony.

The ex­pan­sion will pro­vide 20 more jobs and see a sig­nif­i­cant boost in its ex­port­ing op­er­a­tions.

The busi­ness will be able to ship to a range of in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.

It will also al­low the busi­ness to in­ves­ti­gate ex­pand­ing its range of prod­ucts, from spe­cial­is­ing in fresh caught yel­lowfin tuna, big­eye tuna, al­ba­core tuna, sword­fish, striped mar­lin and mahi mahi to in­clud­ing dried, smoked and frozen fish prod­ucts.

The new fac­tory puts a roof over owner’s Pavo and Heidi Walker’s head. They started the busi­ness 15 years ago us­ing only re­cy­cled fish­ing line from their only boat, now they own five.

Prod­uct is shipped to Bris­bane, loaded on planes and dis­trib­uted across the globe to the United States, Ja­pan and Switzerland.

At the open­ing, on­look­ers watched on as fac­tory staff un­loaded fresh caught mar­lin, tuna and sword­fish and packed it ready to be shipped to Ja­pan.

The early days were tough for the Walk­ers, but now they own the only Marine Stew­ard­ship Coun­cil-cer­ti­fied tuna com­pany in Aus­tralia. Mr Walker said the move to Mooloolaba Wharf sig­ni­fied the next chap­ter of his busi­ness.

“It sup­ports our ex­port­ing ac­tiv­i­ties al­low­ing us to grade, process and pack the fish quickly af­ter the boat

docks and have our fish air freighted out of Aus­tralia the same day,” he said.

“We air freight about 40 tonnes a week.”

Mayor Mark Jamieson

said the busi­ness would soon be able to ex­port pro­duce di­rectly from the Sun­shine Coast Air­port.

“The in­vest­ment by Walker Seafoods is es­ti­mated

to have con­trib­uted $3.25 mil­lion to the Coast’s econ­omy dur­ing con­struc­tion, while pro­vid­ing an on­go­ing an­nual con­tri­bu­tion of $15 mil­lion,” he said.

The in­vest­ment by Walker Seafoods is es­ti­mated to have con­trib­uted $3.25 mil­lion to the Coast’s econ­omy dur­ing con­struc­tion

— Mayor Mark Jamieson

PHOTO: JOHN MCCUTCHEON

WHAT A CATCH: The largest wild caught fish­ing com­pany in Aus­tralia, Walker Seafoods cel­e­brated the open­ing of their $1.2 mil­lion fac­tory at Mooloolaba. Pic­tured: Fac­tory staff get­ting ready to pack tuna for a Ja­pan de­liv­ery.

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