by Jeni Bone
The Australian Marine Conservation Society has launched Australia's Sustainable Seafood Online Guide, hoping to inspire consumers to 'to make sustainable seafood choices', as well as debunking commonly held misconceptions about seafood and commercial fishing’s impact on the environment.
Sustainable Seafood Guide
The organisation and its patron, author and environmentalist, Tim Winton, say the online Guide was developed 'in response to growing public concern about overfishing and its impact on our oceans and their wildlife'.
'The Australian Marine Conservation Society has prepared this excellent guide for the many Australians who love seafood but also love their oceans,' says Winton. 'This is a resource for people who want to do the right thing by the seas that sustain us. Buying seafood is always an exciting challenge, but it's not enough to simply buy what is fresh. If we want to keep eating fish we'll have to learn to buy what is sustainable.'
The Guide provides insight into the sustainability of over 100 seafood species commonly found at fishmongers and in supermarkets, fish and chip shops and restaurants. It includes assessments of Australian and imported fish species, including canned seafood.
The Guide also includes important information about Australia's seafood industry, seafood and your health, seafood labelling, some of the common seafood myths and much more.
According to the AMCS, seafood forms a significant part of the Australian diet - we eat around 19 kg of seafood per person every year and our appetite has grown.
This seafood comes from a variety of sources with roughly half of what we eat produced here in Australia and half imported.
In recent years the total catch of Australian wild fish has declined from a peak of 246,000 tonnes in 2003-04 to 168,400 tonnes in 2008-09. The reason for this decline is a combination of factors including decreased fishing effort, declines in certain fish stocks and changing market conditions. Both aquaculture production and seafood imports have steadily increased over the last decade.
Overfishing, destructive fishing gear and poor aquaculture practices impact significantly on our seas, marine wildlife and habitats. Figures quoted by AMCS state 80% of the world's fish stocks are now over-exploited or fished right up to their limit. 'Once considered inexhaustible, our oceans are now in a state of global crisis.'
The organisation states that 'by choosing sustainable seafood we take a step towards a future with healthy oceans by helping drive change in the way our fish and shellfish are caught or farmed'.
There is also a printed version available for $9.95 and a downloadable mini-version.
More at www.sustainableseafood.org.au
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is the voice for Australia's oceans. We work on behalf of the community to protect our ocean wildlife, make our fisheries sustainable and create places in the sea where our precious ocean animals are safe from harm.
AMCS is an independent charity. We are a committed group of professional and passionate scientists, educators and advocates who have defended Australia's oceans for over 40 years.
More at www.amcs.org.au