2022 Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame is presented to persons who have made substantial positive differences to the seafood industry over at least twenty years. The differences that these people have made is normally at a national level, often beyond the bounds of their enterprise or employment and uncompensated. They have outstanding personal and leadership qualities, and are highly respected throughout the seafood industry.

 

Seafood Industry Australia is proud to introduce the 2022 Seafood Industry Hall of Fame.

Allen Hansen

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Allen Hansen passed away in May 2021, after a career that spanned half a century as founder, owner and Managing Director of Tasmanian Seafoods Pty Ltd. His business eventually included investments all over Australia in abalone, sea cucumber, prawns and whiting, including seafood processing facilities in Tasmania and Victoria, and a number of harvesting boats. As a notable pioneer in the wild abalone industry, he developed markets from California to Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and China, in frozen, canned, pouched and eventually live abalone. He was also actively involved in and sponsored community tennis and basketball.

Born in Wisconsin in 1936, Allen was the eldest of 10 children. From age 8 that childhood was on a farm, where his work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit, hunter-gatherer bent, and scholastic achievement were forged. The adventure continued with his US Marine Corps career as eventual Captain and naval aviator, which paid for his Mining Engineering and Naval Science degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After a tour of duty in Viet Nam in 1965, Allen turned his attention from a hobby of diving to discover Civil War Shipwrecks, to part-time diving commercially for abalone in California.

Allen’s Australian adventure began in 1969 with an exploratory trip diving for abalone in NSW, Victoria, and Tasmania. He settled on Smithton, Tasmania as the place to build his abalone processing business, and immediately got to work building his factory with his $16,000 in life savings. He enlisted the help of some locals with the promise of payment after he was operating, and true to his word, paid them all back in full. His finances only enabled the completion of the factory; his first shipments of abalone and cray tails were financed with a loan guaranteed by the local Evenhuis family.

After a decade of successful operations in abalone, rock lobster and shark, he was able to partner with Tasmanians, notably Dean Lisson and John Hoult, to jointly buy abalone licenses and secure more supply. He also founded oyster farming in NW Tasmania. In the 1990s, Allen turned his hand to sea cucumber in the North of Australia, investing in the technology to stock enhance and sea ranch. A life member of the Tasmanian Abalone Council, Allen was the lead proponent of zonation in Tasmania to distribute fishing effort for sustainability purposes, resulting in the first zones in 2000, expanded to 5 today. He is survived by 3 children and 4 grandchildren.

Bob Richards

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Bob Richards is a visionary pioneer of the Australian Barramundi farming industry. He saw the potential for Humpty Doo Barramundi in the fledgling two-pond trial farm on the site of a former rice project almost three decades ago.  On the journey Bob has engaged and developed a talented and highly diverse team to turn this opportunity into Australia’s largest Barramundi farm while remaining family owned and operated.

A believer in ‘continuous improvement’ Bob developed an award-winning saltwater wetland recirculation system on the back of a Churchill Fellowship in 2002, complemented by his formal agricultural science degree and soil conservation background. He rates his strategy of ‘Survive, Learn, Grow’ and ‘failing small’ as instrumental in the growth of Humpty Doo Barramundi.

Humpty Doo Barramundi has won the National Large Seafood Business Award, Woolworths Sustainable Supplier award and received a special mention in the Australian Landcare Primary Producer award. Bob was awarded the NT Seafood Industry Ambassador Award in 2019, and was a national finalist.

In 2022 Bob along with his wife Julii has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his services developing the Australian Barramundi Aquaculture industry.

Brett McCallum

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Brett has over 40 years experience in the commercial fishing, pearling and aquaculture industries.

 

The majority of that career has been as CEO of two major peak fishing industry representative groups – the WA Fishing Industry Council and the Pearl Producers Association.

 

Brett is a past Deputy Chair of the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation.

 

He has represented the commercial fishing industry in a number of state and federal government working groups and committees. His expertise covers commercial fisheries management, government policy setting, natural resource management, consultation, economics and business management.

 

He has held senior managerial positions with several leading Australian fishing, pearling and exporting companies including the MG Kailis Group, Broome Pearls and Lombardo Seafoods.

 

He is currently:

  • Commissioner for the Australian Fisheries Management Authority,
  • Chair – Fisheries Research and Development Corporation Research Advisory Committee (in both WA & SA);
  • Chair – Australian Aquatic Animal Welfare Strategy Working Group;
  • Chair – Offshore Snapper Fishery Advisory Committee in the NT;
  • Consultant – Safety and Training – WA Fishing Industry Council; and,
  • Director of a private fisheries consulting business since November 2015.

 

Brett has a strong belief in inclusiveness and a passion for empowering industry stakeholders through providing them with the necessary information to make informed, responsible decisions about their industry. He actively encourages younger people in industry to take on leadership roles – often mentoring them along the way.

 

Dr Chris Calogeras

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Chris has, for over 35 years, brought people together to foster connections, enable fruitful negotiations, to build capacity and, ultimately, seafood success.  He has engaged with the broader Industry from many vantage points: as a manager with Government, a business operator, a researcher, a capacity builder and an industry consultant.  These diverse roles have given him the experience to relate to the broad spectrum of stakeholders involved in fisheries.

Chris has a range of formal qualifications including a Doctorate in Business and a Masters in Marine Resource Management, but it is his connection with people from across Industry that has provided him the greatest value.

Chris has been involved in a wide range of activities of varying size and complexity across all sectors of the industry, including Indigenous, wild harvest, aquaculture, post-harvest and recreational sectors, government agencies, NGOs and research.  He specialises in working with inshore wild harvest and tropical aquaculture species and has extensively worked with First Nations people and those with English not as a first language to build capacity, develop innovative sustainable management and research solutions and outcomes across these diverse groups.  

Chris often works as an advocate for those whose livelihoods and wellbeing are at risk, to support them as much as he can, whilst seeking to balance all the other pressures on the resources and to manage stocks sustainably.  He is passionate and has been willing to freely give his time to people and the industry when he feels very strongly about something.  

 

Garry Hera-Singh

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Garry’s commitment to the industry is highlighted by his involvement as a:

 

  • Member of the Southern Fisherman’s Association’s Executive Committee for over 32 years
  • Member the Lakes and Coorong Fishery’s Co-management committees for 15 years & ongoing

Garry has given the industry and fishery a strong profile within the community through numerous representations & presentations about the Lakes and Coorong Fishery and the related the environment and water issues.

 

Garry along with Brian Peirce and the late Henry Jones set out to secure the future for the Lakes & Coorong fishery through addressing the fishery’s impacts and relationships with the environment and a commitment to improved fisheries management leading to the Fishery being certified by the Marine Stewardship Council in 2008.

 

Garry’s strong commitment to support fishers and the fishery through effective advocacy has been important in building greater certainty and security for the industry.  He hs actively supported management improvements and changes that have created a unique harvest strategy for the Lakes & Coorong fishery with FRDC support to build a framework that recognizes the influence of the ecosystem on fishery productivity.

 

Garry’s contribution to the fishery has been recognised through a number of awards for his efforts to address the environmental degradation issues in the Lower Lakes and Coorong region.

Geoff Blackburn

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Geoff joined the Board of OceanWatch Australia in 2005 to work to protect fish habitat, improve water quality and to promote sustainability. Geoff became the Chair of OceanWatch in early 2016. He is a strong advocate of building a better future for Australian seafood by strengthening
partnerships with government, resource managers, business and the community. Geoff is sat on numerous committees, advisory groups, steering committees, working groups and councils representing the interests of NSW commercial fisherman at the same time of being an active working fisherman.
Geoff’s expertise has been well sort across numerous NGOs, stakeholders and governmental agencies. His frank and fearless advice as well as his comprehensive knowledge has been highly valued. He has sacrificed significant time away from his family, friends and his business in his pursuit of fair representation for his industry and it’s future. Geoff is a past Director of the Coffs Harbour Fishermen’s Cooperative; a Director of the NSW Catchers’ Trust; a member of CommFish, a past Director of the NSW Seafood Industry Council; a Director of the Professional Fisher’s Association; a past member of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation’s NSW Fisheries Research Advisory Board, a member of the NSW DPI Linkage Working Group and Marine Park advisory committee,. He is a Shareholder in the Estuary General & Ocean Haul Fisheries in NSW. Geoff is OceanWatch Australian’s first, recognised OceanWatch Master Fishermen. He is highly respected by his peers in the industry.

Dr George Kailis

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George is a leading contributor to State and National fisheries management policy and research. His career crosses family business, academia, the public sector, indigenous rights, fisheries research, legal research and fisheries management. He has made key contributions to the development and application of fishing rights in Australia. George has always made himself available to those seeking advice or insight into law and policy.

 

George first took on a leadership role in 1985 when elected Chair of the Rock Lobster and Prawning Association of Western Australia. Since then, his National and International roles have spanned the lobster, fishing, prawning and pearling industries. He has been a Chair or Deputy Chair of many industry and government bodies and is currently the Chair of the Commonwealth Fishing Association. In 2021 he received the Leadership Award from the WA Fishing Industry Council, its highest honour and named after his parents Michael and Patricia Kailis. George’s love of the industry and of research has drawn on his parent’s legacy as industry pioneers.

George Raptis

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George Raptis was the son of a Greek migrant fisherman who worked with his parents and paved the way to building one of the largest privately owned fishing companies in Australia. With a strong entrepreneurial spirit that was engrained in him from a young age, his endeavours took him from a humble fish shop to a large exporter, wholesaler, fishing and processing business.

Half a century on, he took the company to 19 prawn trawlers and 3 fish trawlers, 3 significant operational depots, a state-of-the-art processing facility and other business supporting infrastructures. Whilst he was a fearsome negotiator and builder of business, he also had other abilities such as engineering and technical financial skills. Most significant, however, was the relationships he built with other fishermen, particularly helping others in times of need.

George held close relationships with many including staff who he treated like family. He would ask 100 questions and had a sharp memory which was a gateway to incredible opportunities he would find first and run with, that others would dismiss.

His success was renowned throughout the industry. George also ran the business as a family business because, at the heart of it, were brothers, a sister, his wife, and a son who worked with him. George pushed the business forward for the greater family. Beyond that, George had a daughter, nieces, nephews and grandchildren who he adored.

A true legend and a brilliant man who is being honoured in a way he deserved.

Harry Peeters

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Harry entered the fishing industry later in life after a career of senior leadership roles in Victoria Police and the Water Industry. Since taking on the role of Executive Officer for the Western Abalone Divers Association (WADA) he has led the transformation of the organisation to an industry leader in fine scale management of abalone resources.  Harry developed industry led Quota Setting Workshops that are a key part of the WADA / VFA co-management approach to the Western Zone resource .  Over the past twenty years Harry has driven the adoption of comprehensive data collection in the zone, whereby individual abalone are measured and geo-referenced immediately on landing on the boat.  This has led to the Western Zone now being one of the most data rich fisheries in the world. Harry’s greatest passion is the development of young people into leaders in the fishing industry and challenges all current leaders to ensure that there is an industry produced leader to follow them. The greatest challenge he has faced in his role has been leading his industry back from the devastating effects of the AVG outbreak in 2006. Having brought the fishery back to a Sustainable rating under SAFS, it was once again hit with an outbreak in May 2021. With the management regime now in place he has no doubt it will once again rise from the ahes.

Jim Raptis

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Executive Director, General Manager South Australian Operations, Shareholder and trawler skipper – A. Raptis & Sons Pty Ltd.

 

Jim joined A. Raptis & Sons, the family business, as a shareholder and employee in 1965. At that stage it was a small family company processing scale fish and shark sold nationally. He gained experience in trawler operation, seafood processing and national and international seafood marketing

 

Jim’s late brother George Raptis transitioned the business into one of the largest vertically integrated seafood businesses in Australia with a fleet including prawn trawlers in the Northern Prawn Fishery, and a strong business presence in most State’s in Australia.

 

Since 1991 Jim has managed the South Australian operations which has processed prawns and fin fish for domestic and international markets.

 

As President of the Great Australian Bight Industry Association since 2010, Jim has actively worked with AFMA to ensure GABIA is a leading industry body with a strong co-management role.  He has championed the Great Australian Bight Trawl Fishery pursuing MSC certification.

 

As President of the Saint Vincent Gulf Prawn Boat Owner’s Association since 2013 Jim has conscientiously built strong and effective co-management relations with PIRSA / SARDI. He also leads the GSVPF’s industry involvement in the Australian Council of Prawn Fisheries.

 

At a grassroots fishery / sector level Jim has consistently displayed a commitment to representing industry through the relevant Management Advisory Committees and Research Groups to ensure those two key industries are well represented to government and the community.

 

Innovation has also been part of his focus including introducing:

 

  • prawn receivable tankday ms using conveyors to markedly improve prawn quality and processing – toost trawlers in the NPF have these handling systems.
    packaging and graphic design to grade the prawns in 3 kilo cartons
  • Marel Scales into the Australian fishing fleet which overcame the gravitational variation in weighing at sea
  • Winning the SA Seafood Industry Environment Award in 2013 for new gear technologies including the adoption of T90 cod ends and grids in the Gulf St Vincent Prawn Fishery to reduce by-catch of a range of non-target species and small prawns
  • New gear technologies into the Great Australian Bight Trawl Fishery to better manage its by-catch which is being evaluated in a project examining the use of improved gear design in the Commonwealth Trawl Sector

 

Jim has taken on key roles on the basis that he is recognised by his peers as being an effective leader who is strategic, with a strong capacity for creating effective working relationships.  As a policy maker in industry associations he has made a consistent, substantial and positive difference to the seafood industry.

Mure Family

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Established in 1973, Mures Tasmania is a proud third-generation family business with a passion for sustainable fishing and providing an exceptional “hook-to-plate” experience for all who visit their iconic restaurants on the Hobart Waterfront. 

Founders George & Jill Mure first opened Mures Fish House in a small Victorian cottage in Hobart’s historic Battery Point. To source quality, fresh, local seafood, George went fishing. Spending three days a week at sea catching fish for customers and three in the restaurant running double shifts, they began Mures “hook-to-plate” philosophy. 

In 1987, George & Jill designed, built, and opened Mures Fish Centre on Hobart’s Victoria Dock. For 10 years their son Will skippered the Mures fishing vessel, and he and his wife Jude are the current driving force behind Mures today. Their children Eve, Wilson and Jock now also hold positions within the business. Today, Mures incorporates: 

• Three seafood restaurants 

• Two Fishmonger retail outlets 

• Two custom-built fishing vessels, Diana & Selkie 

• A processing facility – Mures Fishing – located in Cambridge, Tasmania 

• Seafood Wholesale division 

• Gourmet seafood product range 

• Exclusive wine range 

• And an educational program for schools 

Mures continues to hero Tasmania’s incredible seafood alongside their friendly, welcoming & knowledgeable service. 

Peter and Frances Bender

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Peter and Frances’ experience managing the family cattle farm was an asset when, in 1986 with a young family, they decided to diversify into salmon and trout farming on the Huon River with one employee and one fish pen. They contract-grew until 2005 when they expanded to grow and market their own Huon Salmon and Ocean Trout, creating the company that is now Huon Aquaculture.

Expanding the business was a huge challenge and they couldn’t have imagined their business would become iconic in the global aquaculture industry. Through innovation and technology, Huon pioneered world-leading practices to become one of Tasmania’s biggest primary industry businesses. Salmonid farming is Tasmania’s highest value primary industry generating a farm-gate value approaching $1B, making Huon a major contributor to the State’s economy.

Huon now employees over 1000 people including labour hire and produces over 35,000 tonnes of salmon and ocean trout annually. The company is vertically integrated across freshwater, marine farming, harvesting, processing, value-adding and marketing supplying domestic and international markets.

As an ASX listed entity Peter served as Huon’s CEO and Frances the Board’s Executive Director until November 2021, when after 35 years of creating a company and industry to be proud of, they decided to sell Huon Aquaculture to JBS Foods.

Ron Boswell

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I thank the fishing industry for the nomination to the National Seafood Industry Hall of Fame.  The co-nominates have been the giants of the seafood industry over a lifetime.  My association with George Raptis goes back to 1980 when he purchased the Colmslie fish depot.  I am proud to be included in such a distinguished group of seafood champions. 

My journey with the fishing industry began with the Wynnum fish board closure, a group of local fishermen called at my house with the news of closure and that they needed the fish board to sell their product.  They asked if I would take it up for them with the Premier. The fish board was haemorrhaging millions; however I told the Premier that the fisherman levies had paid for the fish board and it should not sold.  His reply was the fisherman could keep the assets and start cooperatives.  Some fleets did take this opportunity up. 

After entering Parliament in 1983 I was contacted by the Townsville fleet, the harbour master was refusing to let them unload or refuel in the harbour.  I immediately rang the Premier who told me to tell the Harbour Master to give the fisherman access.  The Harbour master’s responded that as Harbour Master and he had made the decision that the fisherman were not going into the harbour. I passed those remarks back to the Premier who stated  “yes he is the Harbour Master and will be till next Tuesday.” A new Harbour Master was appointed and the fisherman were not only given access to the harbour but a new fishing fleet marina was established at Ross Creek with refuelling and retail facilities, a big win for the industry.

During my time in Federal Parliament there were many fishing issues that needed a helping hand. 

  • Two Northern prawn buy backs, which we got funds for, willing buyers, willing sellers.
  • The Barrier Reef readjustment, the fishing industry lost grounds to green zones, but were provided with over $300 000 000 for government assistance.
  • Torres Strait trawlers were threatened with reducing their units. We stopped that. 
  • We lead the charge to keep fishing grounds open for the recreational and professional fisherman against every Green group in Australia.
  • Nigel Scullion the Senator for Northern Territory and a former chairman of the Australian Fishing Industry stood shoulder to shoulder with me throughout his career in defending the fishing industry.
  • The campaign to keep the fishing grounds open was a joint professional and amateur involvement and it was tremendously successful it indicated to me that when professional and recreational fisherman campaign together and join forces they are hard to beat.

 

After Chairing the FRDC for 4 years with Patrick Hone, who was a dedicated supporter of the seafood industry, and my observations through 32 years in Parliament I believe the Fishing industry’s future will be much more successful if both the Recreational and Professional fisherman work together.  They both need each other.  There are people in this room that represent both sectors of the industry that share my views. 

 

I thank the fishing industry for this nomination to the National Seafood Industry Hall of Fame. It has been a wonderful voyage with the fishing industry.

Ron Boswell

Acknowledgement of country:
Seafood Directions and Seafood Industry Australia acknowledges the Muwinina People of the Hobart area, the Traditional Owners of the Country where we live, learn and work, and pays respect to Elders past and present.

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