ASC moves further into Australia with new hire

Published on
September 29, 2016

Tasked with leading commercial outreach and strategic growth in Australia and New Zealand, Duncan Leadbitter has become the first representative for the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) to operate out of Australia. He will serve as the ASC’s commercial manager for Australia and New Zealand.

In response to demand from the retail sector, government and aquaculture producers, ASC has long been eyeing the Australia and New Zealand region, hoping to expand its focus there, ASC said in a press release. Through a partnership with Leadbitter via Fish Matter, Leadbitter’s Australia-based fisheries and natural resource consulting company, the certification organization will gain more support for its global plan to promote the availability of ASC-certified seafood for consumers in Australia and beyond.

“We are excited to welcome Duncan to the ASC,” said Chris Ninnes, CEO of ASC, in a prepared statement on the arrangement. “We are privileged to work with some of the most dedicated experts in the field of seafood sustainability. Duncan is among the most knowledgeable professionals in the industry and his work in Australia and Asia with local communities, various government agencies, NGO’s, scientists, academics and the industry is representative of the collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach which the ASC believes will be key to the transformation of the aquaculture industry.“

Australia has increasingly become a prominent market for ASC in the past few years, with a Tassal salmon farm in Macquarie Harbor becoming the first in the country to achieve ASC certification in 2014; nearly a dozen farms in Australia have since followed suit.

“Aquaculture is critical to ensuring the availability of the seafood necessary to feed the world,” Leadbitter said. “A growing proportion of seafood supplied in Australia and New Zealand is farmed and in the wider region this number is even higher. It is increasingly difficult for shoppers to know which fish is the best environmental and social choice. The ASC logo makes it easy for consumers to choose responsibly and I am pleased to join the ASC in this vital work.”

Leadbitter will work throughout Australia, New Zealand and Asia to he;p farms and retail partners maximize the value of their ASC certification. He has expertise in the management of protected marine areas and bycatch management and has held roles in Asia, Europe, North America and the Pacific. Leadbitter has served on a variety of projects such as the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, Taronga Zoo, Commonwealth Fisheries Association, Conservation International, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and Fair Trade USA.

Leadbitter is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at the University of Wollongong.

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