Festival gives local fish a grilling
The WA fishing sector needs friends, according to industry leader John Harrison.
"WA fisheries are among the best managed, healthiest and most sustainable in the world," Mr Harrison, the WA Fishing Industry Council chief executive, said.
"But there are those in the community who are unaware of our achievements and would like to see WA fisheries closed or quotas reduced.
"We've got to get our very positive messages out there."
Concern about public opinion is one factor driving WAFIC to stage the inaugural Fremantle Seafood Festival on Sunday, March 29.
"The festival is a celebration of the remarkable seafood we have in WA and of the seafood industry," Mr Harrison said.
The festival will be spread around the Fishing Boat Harbour and Bathers Beach with attractions including a Seafood Theatre, the Tastes Of Fremantle Stage at Bathers Beach, seafood tastings, live cooking demonstrations, celebrity chef appearances and stallholders selling seafood and WA wines.
Fremantle fisherman Jim Mendolia, whose sardine business has expanded into a range of crumbed, marinated and tinned sardine products made in WA, said the festival "was a great opportunity for the public to meet the people who catch WA's seafood".
"We've got some of the best seafood in the world," Mr Mendolia said. "Our fisheries are well managed and this is an opportunity for local people to be made aware of what's caught locally and how good it is.
"We'll never stop imported seafood - there's just so much of it - but it's important we let people know what is local so they can make an informed choice.
"People are prepared to pay more for a known, sustainably caught premium product."
Mr Mendolia said they would be cooking crumbed sardines for people to taste at the festival.
"People love barbecues, especially when it is local fish," he said.
Celebrity chefs Don Hancey, Josh Catalano and Pete Manifis will be cooking, speaking and presenting classes on the seafood festival's two stages throughout the day.