AFMA

Aussie seafood the best bet for sustainability

Last updated 15 March 2013

For sustainable seafood, think Australian. That’s the message the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has for seafood lovers this Sustainable Seafood Day.

The recently updated Australian Dietary Guidelines have recommended that Australians increase their fish consumption by more than 40 per cent; however choosing sustainable seafood can seem confusing.

Australian fisheries are managed under strict rules to reduce the environmental impacts of fishing and to ensure that stocks remain strong into the future. This means that consumers can be confident that local seafood is managed and caught responsibly and sustainably.

Numerous international studies have ranked Australia’s fishery management among the best in the world including for its environmental sustainability.

Industry members in some fisheries have chosen to be assessed by independent programs such as the Marine Stewardship Council. Australia has seven fisheries that have been independently certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as sustainable, with four of these managed by the federal regulator, AFMA.

Annual reports on stock status show that each year more stocks are considered healthy, with fewer in the ‘overfished’ and ‘subject to overfishing’ category (only three Commonwealth-managed stocks in the most recent report).

Since 2007 the number of key commercial fish stocks known to be sustainably fished has doubled (from 28 to 56).  This list includes popular table fish such as flathead and prawns. 

AFMA CEO Dr James Findlay said that tough fishery rules mean that Australian seafood waters is caught responsibly and consumers should feel confident purchasing and enjoying this seafood.

“I know people are sometimes worried about whether certain types of fish are ethically ok to buy, but in Australia we use very good science to monitor the fish stocks and we set catch limits so that commercial fishers can’t take more than is sustainable”, Dr Findlay said.

“The fishing industry also takes sustainability seriously and we work closely with them to ensure they are using best practice methods.

“It is very encouraging to see some fishers going above and beyond what is required by the regulations to ensure their fishery is world class.”

Healthy stocks and robust science and management are allowing AFMA to increase catch limits in a number of key fisheries. These increases are putting more healthy and sustainable seafood, including Blue Grenadier, on the plates of Australian consumers. 

Contact Sophie Milic, AFMA Communications 02 6225 5541 or 0447 942 840 or sophie.milic@afma.gov.au.

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