A Hervey Bay seafood business that exports premium wild-caught ocean king prawns will bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger after receiving a grant under the Palaszczuk Government’s plan for economic recovery.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Australian Ocean King Prawns successfully applied for a share of the $500,000 Market Diversification and Resilience Grant Program.
“Like other economies around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Queensland businesses hard,” Mr Furner said.
“We are continuing to manage the health response well and that means we can start to deliver Queensland’s plan for economic recovery.
“The Queensland Government is working closely with industry on the economic recovery of the agriculture and fisheries sectors, including agribusiness exporters who support thousands of jobs.”
Mr Furner said a $7,500 grant to purchase a vacuum packaging machine will help Australian Ocean King Prawns improve the quality of its stored seafood, to be sold into new interstate and international markets when conditions improve.
“Australian Ocean King Prawns, which has a fleet of ten trawlers and employs 112 people, is a prime example of a Queensland agribusiness building resilience and finding opportunity from adversity,” Mr Furner said.”
Company Administration Manager Therese McCrea said king prawns, which are normally snap frozen at sea before they’re shipped, now have to be stored for a significant period of time.
“With funding support from the Queensland Government, a vacuum packaging machine will mean our world-renowned ocean king prawns can be stored for optimum shelf life and quality,” Ms McCrea said.
“Vacuum packaging is ideal for seafood and important to the sustainability and expansion of our business. By increasing the shelf life of our seafood product, we’ll be ready to take advantage of an upturn in sales when the coronavirus pandemic eases.”
Australian Ocean King Prawns is a family business that has been supplying premium quality seafood out of Hervey Bay for local and export market for more than 35 years.
COVID-19 stalled the company’s plans to expand into the United States, customers from Greece and Taiwan stopped buying, as did Australian restaurants and clubs which were forced to close.
More than 150 businesses applied for the first round of the Market Diversification and Resilience Grants Program for COVID-19 affected exporters – part of the Queensland Government’s $27.25 million coronavirus industry economic recovery package.