10 April 2013

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has welcomed news that Australian-caught Patagonian toothfish has been labeled as ‘best choice’ by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.

The Seafood Watch program advises global consumers on seafood sustainability using independent peer-reviewed science and is highly regarded worldwide.

Australia has two fisheries for Patagonian toothfish (also known as Chilean Seabass); the Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery and the Heard Island and McDonald Islands Fishery.

Both fisheries are already accredited as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council and this latest announcement by Seafood Watch is more good news for seafood lovers.

AFMA Chief Executive Officer Dr James Findlay said that that it was clear that these well-managed fisheries were producing high quality and sustainable product.

“Consumers can be confident that Australian-caught Patagonian toothfish is sustainably fished using best-practice methods.”

“AFMA has very strict regulations in place to ensure the fishery is sustainable. The Australian industry don’t just meet these conditions, they go above and beyond to absolutely make sure their fishing has a minimal impact on the environment”.

Access to the fishery is limited and fishers are subject to strict management arrangements which limit the amount of catch which can be taken.

All Australian vessels fishing for Patagonian toothfish are required to carry two AFMA observers to ensure all fishing operations are monitored around the clock and all unloads of fish are monitored by fishing inspectors.

Patagonian toothfish has been subject to significant levels of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by foreign fishing vessels in the past. A collaborative effort by industry, government and conservation groups has seen illegal fishing of toothfish decline significantly and no illegal fishing vessels have been detected in the Australian Fishing Zone since January 2004.

Dr Findlay commended the fishing industry on the key role that they played to help eradicate illegal fishing for toothfish.

Contact Rebecca Atkins, AFMA Communications 02 6225 5541 or 0447 942 840.