Leeuwin Coast – the new seafood brand of Harvest Road Group – was launched at a historic community event in Albany this evening.
Andrew and Nicola Forrest joined WA Minister for Fisheries Peter Tinley in Albany for the special occasion.
The new name is inspired by the Leeuwin Current that stretches along Western Australia’s pristine coastline.
In a joint statement, the Forrests said: “Shellfish aquaculture is inherently sustainable and is being hailed as a form of regenerative farming that cleans, heals and enhances our oceans.
“Western Australia is a new frontier for aquaculture, and through being innovative and bold we will challenge paradigms and put Western Australia on the map as a leader in delicious yet sustainable seafood.
“Our journey into aquaculture is going to be a long one and we are excited to bring Albany and the broader WA community along on this journey as we continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible and create a world leading aquaculture company.
“We see the Leeuwin Coast brand becoming synonymous with WA. A brand renowned throughout the world for clean, sustainable and premium seafood products.”
Harvest Road Group CEO Greg Harvey said the company was honoured to unveil Leeuwin Coast in Albany following the purchase of the local oyster farm, near Emu Point, earlier this year.
“Albany is critical to our future plans and we are very humbled to be part of this amazing community,” Mr Harvey said.
“We currently employ eight staff in Albany, but this number will more than triple by June next year as we expand our operations.
“Hiring locals and giving community members an opportunity to join us on our development pathway is essential for us. We want the community to own this project and be proud of what we are building together. We will bring in expertise with a view to pass that knowledge on to members of the community, facilitating career development and opportunities for our staff.”
Mr Harvey said the significant ramp up in production reflected an insatiable demand for Australian rock oysters, particularly in overseas markets.
“Export is a real opportunity,” he said. “There is a growing demand for Australian rock oysters throughout Asia and further abroad where the unique taste profile compared to Pacific oysters is being sought after by oyster lovers and restaurants alike.”
Mr Harvey was confident the signature product of Leeuwin Coast would be the akoya.
“WA is now home to the world’s first commercial edible akoya farm, and we see this delicious shellfish becoming a quintessential part of WA and Albany’s gastronomic experience,” he said.
“Leeuwin Coast’s akoya is quite literally a hidden local gem. Its shell has a striking pearlescent lustre and nestled inside is a home-grown seafood treasure that is perfect cooked, cured, or raw.
“The akoya promises to be WA’s next great delicacy.”
On top of the akoya and oysters, Leeuwin Coast owns and operates WA’s only local mussel farm.
“Our bite sized mussels are sweeter, juicier and tastier than our east coast counterparts’,” Mr Harvey said.
“Western Australians consume more mussels per capita than any other state in Australia, and we know they’re going to love our Leeuwin Coast mussels.”