The Top 25: Australis Aquaculture Q&A
Australis Aquaculture is featured in The Top 25: Sustainability & Conservation list, published by SeafoodSource on 24 September, 2020.
SeafoodSource: What kind of trends have informed Australis Aquaculture’s latest sustainability/conservation efforts?
Australis: We have been an early, strong, and unwavering voice in the sustainable seafood movement, collaborating with NGOs and providing guidance and support for the effort to align and transform markets. We were one of the first companies that developed a new product, a new fish species, that could address unmet consumer needs and sustainability concerns of aquaculture in a scalable manner. We tackled the dual challenge of building barramundi into a global food trend and driving adoption while bringing a truly sustainable premium product to market.
As the culture of sustainability evolved, we’ve challenged ourselves to think and act more holistically about how to create meaningful impact at all levels. From shifting our business to a near-exclusive focus on promoting frozen seafood, to taking direct action in our community to reduce ocean plastics, to developing an entirely new seaweed farming industry to mitigate climate change (GreenerGrazing.org), our organization is continuously thinking about how we can do better.
SeafoodSource: What key features serve to set Australis Aquaculture’s sustainable seafood offerings apart in the market?
Australis: Australis Aquaculture’s offerings are positioned as “best-in-class” products that deliver on a highly-desired combination of attributes: great taste, performance, sustainability, and nutrition. We selected barramundi after profiling over 30 species of fish in a three-year global evaluation and were determined to make this relatively unknown species popular in the U.S. market.
Our farms are also unique within the Southeast Asian context – we are showcasing a novel approach to ocean-farming in the marine tropics that have become an important model. We believe that creating scale around the most sustainable options benefits ocean conservation, human health, and food security.
Finally, Australis Barramundi is a brand that fundamentally rethinks the relationship consumers and chefs could have with their fish farmer. We’ve conducted consumer research that has shown that the Australis brand embodies a high level of innovation and empathy that can help drive the farmed, frozen fish category forward.
SeafoodSource: How does sustainability factor into your overall mission and strategy as a business?
Australis: We say that we are sustainable by design – by which we mean that we were founded with the expressed purpose of developing new models of sustainable aquaculture. This informs our actions across the organization, from formulating FIFO-free feeds to integrating seaweed cultivation on our farms, to community-based initiatives around environmental awareness and broad-based education. Australis actively participated in the development and been an early adopter of numerous standards for sustainable aquaculture and has been a trusted collaborator to many NGOs as they have sought to deepen their understanding and collaboration with the commercial aquaculture sector.
Sustainability is also a key pillar our Better Fish, Better World philosophy, and we are committed to sharing our passion and inspiring others to find a more sustainable path.
SeafoodSource: How does Australis Aquaculture approach sustainable, responsible development?
Australis: We place strong emphasis on human development within the context of the communities in which we operate. We have found that our people thrive and do their best work in an environment in which their views are respected, where they have access to educational and professional development opportunities and earn a competitive wage that provides access to a better life.