Developing a niche market for Australian wild caught eels
Eel fishers in NSW have been trading their product domestically and overseas for many years. Seen globally as a premium product, Australian eels are in high demand. However this niche market is underdeveloped and there is scope to look toward new markets and increase profitability for fishers of this product.
The NSW eel fishery recently became managed by quota which has been a catalyst for NSW fishers’ need to value add the product and focus on marketing the entire run of catch rather than just those suitable for the live market.
The live market has a definite preference for particular eels but there are opportunities to transform eels not suitable for live into new formats. NSW eel fishers are able to work collaboratively to target new market opportunities for what is currently an under-utilised product. The PFA has been inundated by fishers from NSW, QLD and Victoria asking about prospects for eel markets demonstrating that there is a desperate need to conduct further research to support new legal channels market and product formats that meet the needs of those markets.
With funding from the FRDC, the PFA is partnering with Honey & Fox and Noosa Seafood Markets to produce five value added eel products for markets with view of exporting them to international markets in the future.
Initially, the aim is to break into markets for eels and we will undertake research on consumer behaviour and market trends. Following this, we will be looking at product development ideas and start to trial them in different market segments in the domestic market.
In the meantime, it is important to note that globally there is a shortage of eels! What we are trying to do with this project is to work out a way to take advantage of this shortage by positioning NSW wild caught eels as a premium product and look into growing this market overseas.
For more information, visit Home | australianwildeels (australianeelsproject.com)
Chef Market Trials
The PFA is partnering with Honey & Fox and The Fish Girl to explore the potential Australian market for New South Wales saltwater eels. This is market research that is intended to benefit eel fishers and help create a future market for eels in Australia. The project will work to provide NSW saltwater eels to some of Australia's finest chefs to trial novel preparation techniques. In doing so, this will help our research assess whether the Australian market for NSW saltwater eels can grow enough for the fishery to reach its full potential.