In an Australian first, a new joint venture will market and sell southern bluefin tuna with jobs and financial benefits for Indigenous South Australians.
Wanna Mar-Stehr Pty Ltd has been started as a 50-50 venture to market and sell initially 100 tonnes of tuna with training opportunities for indigenous youth through the Australian Maritime and Fisheries Academy. The venture has started its operation with its own quota with an instant market value base of more than $8 million.
Wanna Mar, which means "seafood" in Wirangu and Mirning, would be the brand for the fish going into the domestic and international market.
Directors will include Stehr Group founder Dr Hagen Stehr AO, Marcus Stehr, Port Adelaide Football Club Aboriginal Programs Manager Paul Vandenbergh and South Australian Indigenous Children's Commissioner April Lawrie.
Dr Stehr this was a first for the Australian fishing industry and Stehr Group was committed to the success of this new venture.
He said this initiative was two years in the making and followed the vision of creating an indigenous fishing brand and providing positive employment outcomes for the Far West Coast Native Title Group.
"It's the foundation stone for years to come for indigenous communities to be part of offshore fishing enterprises," he said.
"The career path is wide open for them but they need to be up to standard."
Dr Stehr said this was a first for the Australian aquaculture and fishing industry and showed with the right motivations the industry could bring positive economic and social outcomes for the indigenous community.
Up to 20 young indigenous South Australians are expected to take part in training each year.
Dr Stehr said a plan was for trainees to travel to Port Lincoln on the One and All to be tested.
He said positive employment outcomes would not just be for the fishing industry as it could open doors to other opportunities including in engineering, marketing and export.
The first products with the brand are expected to be released into the market in the new year, with gilled and gutted fish to Japan and China and fresh product to the United States and Europe.
Mr Vandenbergh and Ms Lawrie were approached for comment but did not respond before deadline.