Seafood & Sustainability
Increasingly consumers want to be sure that the seafood they buy is sustainably harvested…… so here’s the good news!
While seafood stocks are limited, they are also renewable, and can be harvested sustainably when well managed! In Australia we are lucky to have highly regulated, well managed fisheries. All fisheries in Australian waters are managed under the principles of ecological sustainable development (ESD). This means that our fisheries are managed not only for the long-term sustainability of the target species, but also for the broader marine environment.
The commercial fishing sector also works in close co-operation with government, to ensure our fisheries are managed for long term sustainably. After all, their livelihood and future depend on it! The seafood industry also supports OceanWatch Australia Ltd (OWA), which is a national not-for-profit environmental company that works to advance sustainability in the Australian seafood industry.
Why do we still see fish like Orange Roughy for sale?
It is true that a few fish species have suffered significant declines due to poor management practices in the past. Under national environment law (EPBC Act) only four species, orange roughy, eastern gemfish, school shark and southern blue fine tuna have been found to be threatened due to historic decline and are now classes as “conservation dependant”. As a result these species are now only caught at greatly reduced levels under rigorous management plans aimed at ensuring stocks recover.
What is the industry doing about bycatch?
Bycatch is the part of the fishers catch that is not the target species. Commercial fishers, makers of fishing gear, researchers, government, and non-government organisations have introduced a variety of changes to fishing gear and practices that have helped reduce bycatch. For commercial fishers reducing bycatch ensures minimal ecological impact and improves the efficiency of fishing operations by improving product quality, reducing operational costs due to drag on their nets, cleaner catches and reduced sorting times, and safer working conditions due to reduced handling of large and sometimes dangerous non-target species.
Advice for consumers that are still concerned?
For consumers that are still concerned about the sustainability of Australian seafood we recommend that they:
- Select a variety of different seafood to eat;
- Choose species that are in season (ask your fishmonger), and;
- Stick to short lived, quick growing and fast breeding seafood species. Fortunately this includes a great variety of popular species such as bream, whiting, leather jackets, flathead, mullet, luderick, mackerel, sardines, prawns, calamari/squid, octopus etc.
Want to learn more about what’s been done to manage our fish stocks sustainably?
We recommend that you visit:
- OceanWatch Australia – www.oceanwatch.org.au
- Australian Fisheries Management Authority – www.afma.gov.au
- Environment Australia – www.environment.gov.au/coasts/fisheries/
- Queensland Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries – www.dpi.qld.gov.au/28.htm
- NSW Department of Primary Industries – www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries
- Victorian Department of Primary Industries –www.new.dpi.vic.au/fisheries
- SA Primary Industries & Resources – www.pir.sa.gov.au/fisheries
- WA Department of Fisheries – www.fish.wa.gov.au/
- NT Department of Resources – www.nt.gov.au/d/Fisheries/
The MFMA are proud sponsors of OceanWatch Australia Ltd
OceanWatch Australia Ltd is a national not-for-profit environmental company that works to advance sustainability in the Australian seafood industry. For more information checkout the OceanWatch Australia website.