Narooma Oyster Festival champion Gerard ‘Doody’ Dennis has been given a pearler of an opportunity to help shape the future of Australia’s sustainable seafood industry by taking part in a national leadership program.
The Batemans Bay resident is one of 18 aspiring leaders from the Australian seafood sector chosen to participate in this year’s National Seafood Industry Leadership Program.
A key member of the management team at Australia’s Oyster Coast, Mr Dennis has experience in all aspects of the oyster industry with extensive oyster and marine knowledge through his work with Clyde River oyster farmers, local processors and his work in maritime.
His passion for the marine environment is second only to that of his Indigenous family and culture.
Mr Dennis known locally as the oyster shucking champion having consecutively won the Narooma Oyster Festival title, will take part in the first residential session in the Gold Coast this week.
“I’m very proud to be part of this year’s NSILP gang,” he said.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to learn more about the entire industry and help shape the sustainable seafood story in Australia.
“I can also use these skills in my own community to inspire others to take on a career in the seafood industry and to put their hands up for these types of opportunities.”
As a proud Gimillaray/Kamillaroi man living on Yuin Country, Mr Dennis said it was important to have a strong voice and be part of the leadership shaping the future of not only the seafood industry, but all industry in Australia.
Upon completion of the program, Mr Dennis will join an impressive list of graduates who have gone on to apply their skills to a wide variety of areas including regional network development, regional and state industry boards, reference committees and effective business and workplace management.
Currently part of the management team at Australia’s Oyster Coast, Mr Dennis will use this opportunity to promote sustainable seafood in Australia and continue implementing best practice methods in his workplace to provide consistently better oysters to the Australian market.
The program was designed in consultation with the seafood industry to equip future leaders with the right tools to make a positive impact for Australia’s seafood industry, and is being delivered through funding from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.
Australia’s Oyster Coast Chief Operating Officer Craig Smith said the program is an important journey for our industry’s future leaders, like Mr Dennis.
“It’s not an easy feat to be accepted into this national program – the demand is high, places are limited and those selected are pushed to excel,” Ms Smith said.
“Doody deserves a big congratulations. He is an incredible bloke and a fantastic ambassador for the South Coast and the entire aquaculture industry.”