Eco-friendly fish up­take slow

Broome Advertiser - - News - Sarah Ison

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.

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