Fresh future planned for Bay’s seafood festival
AFTER 20 years of celebrating succulent seafood, a cloud hung over one of Hervey Bay’s most popular festivals at the end of last year.
With the State Government introducing new fishing reforms, Hervey Bay Seafood Festival organiser Elaine Lewthwaite said the future of the festival was “absolutely connected” with the future of the fishing industry.
But with the festival set to move from Urangan to Pialba’s Seafront Oval this year, fellow organiser Michelle Fuchs said there was a renewed sense of optimism.
She said the fact they had partnered with regional tourism to bring the event to a bigger and better stage showed confidence in the local commercial fishing industry.
“We’re looking forward to finding out what the State Government does with our industry,” Ms Fuchs said.
“Our industry is a viable industry, it’s highly sustainable and people love eating local seafood, they don’t want to eat imported seafood, they want to eat seafood that’s caught in the local region.
“We have great confidence that we will continue to have a viable seafood industry.”
At the time, Mark Furner, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries said nothing in the proposed regulations would impact the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival or any other event.
“Our reforms are designed to build a legacy of a sustainable fishery for our children and grandchildren,” he said.
The founders are working in partnership with Fraser Coast Tourism & Events, which is taking over the running of the festival.
Ms Lewthwaite and Ms Fuchs, who will retain their involvement on the organising committee and will present wild catch delicacies at the seafood marquee at the 2020 event, have hailed the partnership with FCTE “as helping to take the event to the next level”.
“The phenomenal growth of the festival as a major food tourism destination clearly indicates the importance of planning for the future,” Ms Lewthwaite said.
“This new energised partnership has enormous potential to present an even more memorable catch to plate experience for the thousands of seafood lovers who flock to Hervey Bay”.
FCTE general manager Martin Simons said the Seafood Festival delivered one of the largest out-of-region weekend attendances on the Fraser Coast, estimated to inject between $2 million and $3 million into the local economy in direct tourism spend each year.
Fraser Coast deputy mayor Darren Everard applauded the move.
“I see the move from the Urangan site as a positive step for the future of the event, the move to the new location may assist in raising the profile of the event,” he said.
“It is important that Hervey Bay’s name for quality local seafood is at front of mind for all consumers and this festival is a major pillar for that awareness in the local area.”