Maclean Fish Co-Op manager Deb Benfield shows off some of the seafood available at the retail shop.
Maclean Fish Co-Op manager Deb Benfield shows off some of the seafood available at the retail shop. Adam Hourigan

Fish co-op expands retail presence on the Lower Clarence

THE CLARENCE River Fishermen's Co-operative has cleared up a glitch in its operations with the re-opening of the retail outlet at its Maclean headquarters.

Co-op general manager Danielle Adams said while the fitting out of the new shop had thrown up some challenges, the end product was something to celebrate.

"We're now able to offer the public the same level of service we offer at our other outlets at Yamba and Iluka," Ms Adams said.

The co-op has called on someone with extensive local knowledge with former employee Deb Benfield returning to the fold as the shop's manager.

Ms Benfield said she had left the coop about five years ago, but had no hesitation in coming back.

"It's a great place to work and I like the idea we are producing a lot of the product we sell ourselves," Ms Benfield said.

This will include the coop's signature fish cakes, which will be made fresh, on-site every day, as well as most of the other value-added products sold over the shop counter.

She said the shop will employ of casual employment for 11 people in addition to her full time position.

Ms Adams said creating product for the shop will also create expansion on the factory floor.

"Supplying the shop will pump up production in the processing section," she said.

"It's a signal to the community of our confidence in the future of the industry here," she said.

"It wasn't an easy decision, but we saw it as an opportunity to support the fishers here and maintain a consistent business plan that we can have some control over the outcome.

"We asked ourselve some questions based on the state of the industry and decided the investment was worth it."



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