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The Fisher King

Spring 2005: SA Food Centre

Walk into the office of Michael Angelakis and the framed certificates and commendations are everywhere.

That's after negotiating along Field Street outside, where the constant coming and going of chiller trucks of every shape and size and trolleys laden with seafood scoot around the Angelakis precinct. This is a busy seafood industry.

And the centre of it is Michael - Managing Director of Angelakis Brothers, chair of the Seafood Industry Development Steering Committee, Director of the Seafood Council and the industry representative on the Premier’s Food Council.

As one of the awards on his wall says, Michael Angelakis is "Fisher King Extraordinaire".

Michael is the face of seafood in South Australia and for this edition is our face of food.

How he fits time in for a television program promoting South Australian, indeed Australian, seafood is hard to imagine.

While some of his friends have recently sold their businesses as competition and the heavy demand takes its toll, Michael says his business is not for sale.

"We haven’t realised our potential yet," he said.

"I have just started the journey."

He has been on the journey most of his life, representing an extended family, many of whom are involved in the business.

The major task he now faces is accepting responsibility for the State Seafood Plan through the steering committee.

"We have the only seafood industry business plan in Australia," he said.

"There is promotion, branding, product development, the value adding. There has been tremendous research into seafood here, now we need the product development.

"This is where I feel the industry is heading.

"There have been terrific developments in the lobster industry and sardines.

"We raised the sardine catch to 45,000 tonnes, the majority of it going to tuna feed.

"Now Port Lincoln is canning sardines for market, for restaurants.

"This is not new, WA pioneered it, but we have a huge resource.

"Other countries have been doing this for years but South Australia is now bringing the knowledge here. This is import replacement.

"There are great opportunities but be careful. We have got to farm for the market."

One of Michael’s great dreams is to drive a seafood development centre based at Regency College.

He envisages a revolution in use of fishing by-products - until now, waste.

"We throw away all the by-product that they use overseas to make sauces and (fish) stock. Prawn heads, fish heads, that’s what they use to make those products that we import.

"We import herring. The pelagic industry needs development… it is a huge future we have."

Obviously good hands are guiding it.