New sustainable seafood trial launched in Australia
Northern Beaches Council, New South Wales, has announced an Australian-first undertaking aimed at protecting and preserving the country’s seafood species, threatened marine ecosystems and embattled fishing industry.
Teaming up with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Manly-based restaurants Ruby Lane, 4 Pines and Manly Ocean Foods, Northern Beaches Council has begun a pilot certification and labeling project that allows restaurants and chefs to choose only sustainable fisheries, wholesale suppliers and fish species for their kitchens. Under the project, these ventures will also encourage customers to make similar choices.
Northern Beaches Council General Manager Mark Ferguson said the council is supporting the program because it is committed to helping residents and local businesses live and operate sustainably.
"The ‘Sustainable Seafoods’ pilot program is a great opportunity to help locals make informed, sustainable seafood purchases. It also demonstrates the value and demand for sustainable fishing practices,” said Ferguson.
"We hope to eventually roll out the program to as many local seafood restaurants and retailers as possible."
MSC will publicly acknowledge the participating restaurants’ Sustainable Seafoods commitment through its labeling standard and certification process, while the community engagement component of the program will provide restaurant customers and seafood consumers with authoritative information, helping them make choices about the sustainability of their seafood purchases.
Ruby Lane proprietor Phil Dawson said, "I’m immensely proud that Ruby Lane can be a partner in this vital initiative encouraging responsible fishing practices throughout the seafood restaurant and fishing industries – the first time the Marine Stewardship Council has partnered a project like this in Australia."
While Australian fisheries are generally considered well-managed by international standards, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics many fisheries are still considered “overfished” or “subject to overfishing.”