David Caracciolo from Mackay Reef Fish Supplies.
David Caracciolo from Mackay Reef Fish Supplies.

Coronavirus hits agribusiness international exports

INTERNATIONAL demand for live fish exports from the Mackay region have taken a hit from coronavirus.

David Carraciolo, from Mackay Reef Supplies, has lost of tens of thousands of dollars this year and has stopped exporting completely.

“We normally export every week but this year we’ve only had one international export,” Mr Carraciolo said.

“Our exports normally start at the end of January just before the Chinese New Year but we’ve exported nothing for February or March,” Mr Carraciolo said.

“I’ve just spoken to a customer in Hong Kong and he has closed his restaurant because of no business due to the coronavirus.”

GW3 CEO Kylie Porter said there had been a drop in international demand for live fish exports, including reef fish and mud crab from the Mackay region, but that most agribusinesses in the area involved domestic imports so the effect was minimal.

“We are worried about the effect of the coronavirus on our live fish exports but our bulk markets and niche products such as sugar have not been affected,” Ms Porter said.

However, she said there had been a hold up of international beef products at one of the ports due to coronavirus concerns.

“We’re also concerned about the virus’ impact on general business such as the tourist industry,” Ms Porter said.

The Queensland Government has opened applications for a $500,000 industry grants package to support Queensland agribusiness exporters directly affected by the coronavirus disease.

Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said the new market diversification and resilience grants program was part of the Queensland Government’s $27.25 million coronavirus industry recovery package.

“Grants will be available to support agriculture, food and fishing exporters, their critical supply chain partners and industry organisation to build resilience by diversifying into new markets,” said Mr Furner.

The first round funding for the new grants program opened on Thursday and applications close on Monday April 20.