A study commissioned by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) on people’s attitude to seafood consumption found 75% of Australians said they want sustainably sourced, traceable, seafood.
This is great news for Australian fisheries because we outcompete imported fish on product traits like sustainability, traceability, food safety and freshness.
So here are five reasons to eat more fresh Australian seafood in 2017. Don’t get us wrong – canned and frozen seafood is here to stay but nothing beats the delicate flavour, juiciness and sweet, salty aroma of fresh seafood. Australians are lucky to have access to a huge variety at their doorstep.
1. Low carbon footprint
As previously reported in a 2013 newsletter article, fish from the South East Trawl has a low carbon footprint compared to other proteins. Research by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), University of Tasmania, looked at the sustainability of seafood supply by assessing the carbon footprint across the supply chain. It found that the carbon footprint for wild-caught fish is lower than the global average for aquaculture and agricultural production.
2. Support your local fishing communities and secure the future of your domestic seafood supply
For a lot of people and communities around the country – commercial fishing is not just a ‘job’ – it is a heritage, a way of life and a vital thread in the social and economic fabric of coastal communities. The New South Wales commercial fishing industry contributes nearly half a billion dollars and that’s just one state. However, State Politicians believe that they can gain votes from recreational fishermen by closing small fisheries. Increasingly this means that only recreational anglers will have access to local fish and that the Australian seafood consumer will be the biggest loser because they will have to rely on imports.
What could be more traceable than locally caught fish that is sold in the various fresh fish markets around the country? Traceability does not always have to be complicated and involve fancy gadgetry and cool apps. It can just be as simple as walking to the fresh seafood section of your local supermarket, the fish monger at the wharf or fresh fish market and having a look. Fresh seafood is currently required to be labelled with its country of origin by law and the Australian government is considering improving origin labelling for seafood sold in the food services sector.
Eating seafood regularly has significant health benefits. Seafood is low in fat and cholesterol but high in protein, vitamins, minerals and omega 3 fatty acids. It has even been suggested that eating fish every other day can boost normal sperm count!
5. National and International Seal of Sustainability
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences’ (ABARES) Fishery Status report 2016 showed that, for the third year in a row, no solely Commonwealth managed fish stocks are classified as subject to over-fishing. Furthermore, the report showed that the situation has improved again in the SETF with the classification status of blue eye trevalla and pink ling moving from uncertain to not-being-overfished green status. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2016 report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) applauded countries like Australia that are bucking the trend of increasingly overfished fish stocks through the implementation of effective management actions. What’s more, the report recognized Australia’s achievement in eliminating overfishing in Commonwealth-managed fisheries since 2014, which includes the South East Trawl fishery.