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3 October, 2020

Cairns and Cape York fishing businesses diversify with new grants funding

Fishing businesses in Cairns and Cape York will diversify to recover from the impact of COVID-19 thanks to grant funding from the Palaszczuk Government.


Member for Cairns Michael Healy said Market Diversification and Resilience Grants totalling more than $38,000 would help seven fishing businesses as part of Queensland’s $8 billion plan for economic recovery.

 Mr Healy said projects funded by the grants will contribute to regional economic recovery and jobs.

 “These grants support commercial, charter and aquaculture fishing businesses from Cape York to the Gold Coast to become more resilient by diversifying into new markets after many were lost due to the pandemic,” he said.

 Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said grants totalling more than $51,000 would support seven fishing businesses in Cape York, Lockhart River, Port Douglas and the Cassowary Coast.

 “There was enormous interest in the second round of the Market Diversification and Resilience Grants program, which is part of the Queensland Government’s $27.25 million coronavirus industry recovery package,” Ms Lui said.

 “Competition for the funding was very strong and many deserving applications were received.”

 Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said 108 applications were received from Queensland fishing businesses - a number that reflects the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Queensland’s fishing industry.

 “The grants assessment panel has now processed applications and approved funding of $306,968 to 49 fisheries-based businesses.”

 The funding was awarded across Queensland, with the successful projects varying greatly, from value-adding to existing seafood products to promotional video productions.

 Grants of up to $7,500 were on offer, with the successful applicants to contribute at least 25 per cent of the project’s total cost.

 In round one of the Market Diversification and Resilience Grants program, the Queensland Government provided $500,000 to support agriculture, food, forestry and fishing exporters, their critical supply chain partners and relevant industry organisations.

Summary of approved fisheries grants projects

Live seafood holding tanks

Increased freezing and storage capacity

Market stall equipment to move from wholesale to retail

Value-adding and storage equipment including:

  • Fish smokers
  • Vacuum packaging to enhance product shelf life
  • Scales and labelling
  • Snap freezers
  • Ice machines
  • Vessel refrigeration upgrades

Digital marketing and advertising campaigns

Staff training

Product re-branding

Website development and redesign

Online media productions and promotions
Online community platforms (Industry Associations)

Photography equipment to increase online presence

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