Australian seafood will be flown twice a week to Taiwan in a move that will help local fishers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The first flight left on Friday in the deal struck with seafood producer Tassal.
It’s part of a $110 million plan where the government will also consider exports of produce to China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says it’s important for the flights to be locked in because the reduction in passenger planes has resulted in less produce leaving Australian shores.
“So it’s important we’ve kept those markets open,” he told Sky News.
“This just showcases Australian agriculture is not just producing the best food and fibre in the world, but being one of the most reliable suppliers in the world.
“And it will mean we recover a lot quicker. Agriculture is a bedrock of this nation’s economy at the moment.”
High-quality exports like lobster and abalone have taken massive hits as the global pandemic shuts down commercial air travel.
About 90 per cent of Australian air freight usually goes out in the bellies of passenger planes.
Assistant fisheries minister Jonathan Duniam said the flight would be a lifeline for Tasmania’s seafood industry.
“The fact that Tasmanian seafood is the first to take off is a major coup for the Tasmanian seafood industry, and I know that many other products from across Australia will soon follow this lead,” he said.