Australis Aquaculture becomes first Fair Trade-certified barramundi farmer

Barramundi producer Australis Aquaculture has achieved Fair Trade certification, the firm announced on 26 April.

The company has become the world’s first barramundi farmer to earn the certificate and is also Asia’s first aquaculture finfish producer to obtain Fair Trade credentials. Australis is committing 100 percent of its barramundi sales to the program, it said, with the Fair Trade initiative supporting an expansion of the firm’s community-focused programs in Vietnam.

The company’s Better Fish Barramundi offerings, as well as its foodservice products and Clean Harvest Barramundi items, will all carry the Fair Trade-certified seal beginning this summer.

“Fair Trade USA is uniquely positioned to provide industry and consumers with holistic choices in sourcing responsibly produced seafood through its comprehensive assessment of social, environmental, and economic impacts across the supply chain. The Fair Trade USA model supports sustainable livelihoods by empowering fishers and farmers to improve their lives and their communities. Australis' participation in the program will create a revenue stream from each pound of Fair Trade-certified Barramundi sold that will be available to over 300 workers and their communities in Central Vietnam,” Australis said.

The Fair Trade achievement is the second certification milestone for Australis this year. In March, the firm became the world’s first producer to earn recognition under the Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s (ASC) tropical marine finfish standard for its ocean-based farm in Vietnam.

Australis Aquaculture CEO and Co-founder Josh Goldman confirmed that the company is pursuing a growth strategy with eco-labels at its core.

"We are excited to make this commitment during a period of rapid growth," Goldman said. "We began pursuing certification two years ago, and while the process was delayed by COVID, we're thrilled to launch Fair Trade-certified barramundi today on the heels of our recent ASC certification.”

The company said its consumers in the U.S., Australia, and elsewhere around the globe have showed increased awareness and interest in its barramundi through the pandemic.

"Consumers associate The Better Fish with better farming practices, so becoming one of the first national seafood brands to become Fair Trade-certified builds on this and empowers our people to realize their aspirations for improving their communities," Goldman said. "Barramundi is 'on fire,' with awareness growing faster than any other whitefish and a 70 percent increase in retail sales being reported in 2020."

Fair Trade USA Senior Program and Partnership Manager for Seafood Blake Stok said the livelihoods of the Australis’ workforce in Vietnam will benefit from the Fair Trade certification.

"We're thrilled to see Australis going all the way with its commitment to fair trade and the livelihoods of its employees in Vietnam," Stok said. "Today, more than three billion people depend on seafood as their primary protein source. With population growth, the shift to aquaculture has become increasingly important and now supplies more than half of the world's seafood. Our new aquaculture program brings protections and benefits to producers of cultured seafood and promotes socially responsible growth in the industry through partnerships with intentional producers like Australis."

Australis Aquaculture Marketing Director Julie Qiu said at the heart of the company’s vision for “Better Fish, Better World” is the drive to support “people with sound nutrition, knowledge, and the opportunity to accomplish amazing things."

“Not only will the Fair Trade USA program give back to our workers and community, we'll also demonstrate to our customers how their purchases are contributing to improving the lives of their Barramundi farmers," Qiu said. 

Photo courtesy of Australis Aquaculture


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