Eco-friendly fish uptake slow
West Australian fishery companies are leading the way in sustainable practice but consumer habits are holding back greater change, a new study has revealed.
Research from the Marine Stewardship Council showed while 70 per cent of West Australians believed purchasing more sustainable seafood was essential to sustain the oceans, only 6 per cent bought eco-labelled seafood products as often as they could.
Yet despite the low uptake in purchasing eco-labelled products, fishing industries across WA were surging ahead with world-firsts in sustainable practices, the research showed.
The Western Rock Lobster Fishery was the first of its kind to be MSC-certified in the world, as was the Pearl Fishery in Broome and the WA Abalone Fishery in Albany and Esperance.
MSC program director Anne Gabriel said the lagging behind of consumer behaviour was an issue of awareness.
“Unfortunately, Australia ranks in the bottom four when it comes to awareness of the MSC eco-label on seafood products,” she said.
“World leaders have been coming together . . . but it’s not just up to government and industries, it’s also up to NGOs, supermarkets, retailers and consumers.”
Since a $14.5 million injection by the State Government five years ago to give 50 commercial fisheries the opportunity to be pre-assessed for MSC certification, about 10 have so far been accredited.
Coles responsible sourcing and quality head James Whittaker said having sustainably sourced seafood on shelves was important to the organisation.
“We work with the MSC to give customers confidence to help make a better choice for our oceans,” he said.
Consumers can find eco-labelled products on shelves by looking out for a Blue Fish Tick.