Dinko statue recognises industry's impact

The unveiling of Ken Martin's statue of Dinko Lukin last Friday comes at a time when the tuna company is taking another step forward - as the late Mr Lukin did in the 1980s - to find a new way of maintaining the freshness of its product.

Dinko Lukin was instrumental in the tuna farming innovation and helped pioneer the ranching system still used by Australia's tuna industry today, after a quota system was introduced in the late 1980s to stop over-fishing in the industry.

Today, once tuna boats catch their wild-tuna quota they then slowly transport them in sea pontoons before stopping and securing them off Port Lincoln and feeding them to fatten them up, increasing their weight and profit - a concept that must have seemed far-fetched when it was first suggested but is something we now take for granted.

The sculpture of the late Mr Lukin pays tribute to his impact, not only on the business he started, Dinko Tuna Farmers, but on the wider industry, at a time when the managing director Lukina Lukin is moving the company forward once more.

The future now for the Dinko Tuna Farmers is a new processing facility; the first in Port Lincoln to have the ability to freeze tuna down to -60 degrees celsius within 45 minutes to get a premium product to Australian restaurants and hotels straight away.

The company's current freezer has a -30 degree limit and this next step is working towards another goal in the industry, to be producing a high quality, ready-to-eat product, as the faster a fish freezes, the better it will taste when thawed and the less the flesh texture will be affected.

Southern bluefin tuna is mainly exported as a luxury item for the Japanese sashimi market but in recent times there has been a growth in the domestic market.

Innovation is important to survival in any business and the tuna industry is no exception, with its innovation providing jobs, income, business and growth for many along the way.

While the industry may not be riding the same highs it once did, it has brought significant wealth to the community and still plays an important role in Port Lincoln's economy, with the industry and innovators like Mr Lukin having laid the foundations for the region's reputation as the Seafood Capital of Australia and Australia's Seafood Frontier.