A national initiative to promote the use of sustainable seafood in local restaurants and other food outlets is being piloted by Surf Coast Shire Council, on Victoria’s west coast, in association with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
The Good Fish Project aims to encourage chefs, restaurants and food professionals to serve customers with sustainable seafood options. Twelve restaurants in the Surf Coast area have already signed up to the project.
Surf Coast Shire Mayor Cr Margot Smith said that adopting the Good Fish Project was a natural progression in the Council’s commitment to environmental leadership and innovation.
“The Surf Coast Shire Council is very proud to be partnering with the Australian Marine Conservation Society to pilot the Good Fish Project,” said Cr Margot Smith. “With concern for overfishing, the state of our oceans and the impact of climate change on food security, it is even more important that we know the seafood we eat is responsibly sourced.”
The AMCS has supported the project with conservation advice and information on issues relating to fisheries and sustainability. Surf Coast Shire staff have provided knowledge of the local restaurant industry and have used local networks to build support for the program with restaurants and the wider community.
As part of the Good Fish Project, chefs and consumers can download Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide. The user-friendly guide enables searches for fish by name or according to where the fish is caught or farmed in Australia.
It uses a traffic light system to show which species of seafood are a ‘better choice (green), which ones are better to eat less (amber) and those which should be avoided (red).
The guide is available either as a phone app or online at – www.sustainableseafood.org.au
Examples of fish on the ‘better choice’ list include wild Australian Salmon, farmed Australian prawns and barramundi, mussels and King George Whiting. ‘Eat less’ species include farmed salmon and Trout, blue grenadier and Tiger Flathead. Species on the ‘avoid’ list include Wild Barramundi from QLD, Shark, Bigeye Tuna and Orange Roughy.
According to Ms Tooni Mahto of the AMCS, the Good Fish Project will assist with the long-term viability of the fishing industry. “We want to ensure that the seafood we love now will be around for the next generation,” she said.
Seafood sold with a third-party certification of sustainability is likely to cost more than non-certified seafood, due to the costs of the certification process. Research conducted by the Marine Stewardship Council, however, has found that 39% of people surveyed said they were prepared to pay more for certified seafood.
Australian seafood tends to be more expensive than imported fish, as Australian fisheries regulations can increase prices, but when given the choice between imported or Australian fish customers are often prepared to pay more for the Australian produce.
More information about the Good Fish Project is at – www.goodfishproject.com.au