Alison Turnbull

I currently lead the seafood food safety research program at the South Australian Research and Development Institute. I’ve been working with the seafood industry for the past 18 years in various roles supporting the production of safe seafood and market access for our delicious seafood.

What I love about the industry

I love working with the range of people that you find in the seafood industry, from the old Salties to the young, energetic fishers. It doesn’t matter whether you are talking aquaculture or wild fisheries, the industry is made up of resourceful, resilient and generally optimistic people. I love seeing the many different solutions to the same problem – it always makes me smile to think of the inventiveness that exists in the industry.

Most interesting moment

Unfortunately in the roles I have played I tend to deal most with bad news: toxins, pathogens and trade restrictions all come at significant cost to both businesses and the individuals involved. I will never forget the pressures on the Tasmanian shellfish industry when in was hit in quick succession by toxic algal blooms, bushfires burning infrastructure, sewage contamination leading a viral outbreak, and then Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome and the substantial stock losses this caused. I am full of admiration for the way the industry bandied together to support each other and the sheer tenacity of growers to survive this string of events.

What I find rewarding

I particularly like helping the industry to become more informed of the issues facing them, and giving them to tools to manage their own risks. Regulation is necessary when it comes to food safety, but there are many things folk can do themselves to reduce food-safety risks and produce beautiful high-quality seafood, protecting their businesses and their industry into the future.