Sustainable harvesting of seafood is achievable with good fisheries management based on sound science. Sustainability also includes limiting impacts to support ecosystems and habitats and other marine life.
170 years+ of Sustainability
Sustainable harvesting of seafood is of critical importance to Victoria’s seafood industry. By nature Victoria’s seafood industry is inherently sustainable, the industry has been providing seafood for over 170 years and continues to do so. The last thing that any professional fisher wants to do is to harm or impact the resource or habitats he/she depends on for their livelihoods. The Victorian Seafood industry is managed by the Department of Primary Industries via strict input and output controls. Input controls include; limits on the numbers of licences, gear restrictions, seasonal closures and limits on fishing time. Output controls restrict the fish that can be harvested from a particular fishery and these measures can include; quota systems, total allowable catch targets, bycatch limits. Over and beyond this, professional fishers adopt voluntary measures as an extra sustainability safeguard. These include; codes of conduct, environmental management systems, self imposed closures or restrictions.
Third Party Endorsement, Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF)
The community is suspicious of an industry or even a Government body endorsing an industry’s sustainability credentials. Credible sustainability endorsement is trusted when it comes from an independent organisation. An organisation who is a vested stakeholder in the resource and is concerned for the management/stewardship of the resource, on behalf of the community and the environment.
In Australia this responsibility has largely fallen to non government, not for profit environmental organisations. The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) is such an Australian, respectable, ethical, well-informed and collaborative environmental organisation.
Sustainable Australian Seafood Assessment Program
ACF developed the ‘Sustainable Australian Seafood Assessment Program’ to guide and educate the community who want to purchase sustainable seafood. Not only does this program increase sustainability awareness in the community but the program also assists seafood businesses and industries improve their activities to be more environmentally responsible and sustainable. The program rigorously assesses (scientifically) Australian fisheries and after considering its activities and impacts determines whether or not they are sustainable. This program has assessed numerous Victorian Seafood fisheries, assessing 11 as sustainable. Victoria has the most independently assessed fisheries in Australia.
ACF Assessed Victorian Seafood Fisheries are:
- Snapper from Port Phillip Bay, Victoria
- Black Bream from Gippssland Lakes, Victoria
- Rock flathead from Corner Inlet, Victoria
- Silver trevally from Corner Inlet, Victoria
- Silver trevally from Port Phillip Bay, Victoria
- Southern calamari from Corner Inlet
- Southern calamari from Port Phillip Bay
- King George whiting from Port Phillip Bay
- King George whiting from Corner Inlet
- Rainbow trout from Goulburn River Trout Pty Ltd, Alexandra
- Blue mussel from Sea Bounty Pty Ltd, Corio Bay
- Blacklip abalone from Ocean Wave Seafoods Pty Ltd, Geelong, Victoria
Other Sustainable Victorian Seafood Fisheries
Other Victorian fisheries such as the Rock lobster, Giant Crab, Eel, Scallop, Sea Urchin and Abalone are independently assessed and approved under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 ensuring these fisheries are managed in an ecologically sustainable way.
The community can be confident that when they purchase Victorian Seafood products they are supporting local fishing industries that are harvesting seafood in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.
A sustainable Victorian Seafood industry today will ensure there is a catch to be enjoyed tomorrow and for generations to come.