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5 tricks to make your summer time seafood feast sustainable

Summer time in Australia is synonymous with seafood, from fish and chips on the seaside to prawns on the barbie. However how do we all know if seafood is sustainable, that’s, harvested from wholesome populations with minimal damaging environmental impacts?

Greater than a 3rd of the world’s fisheries are harvested at unsustainable ranges in accordance with the most recent figures from the Meals and Agriculture Group of the United Nations.

Analysis reveals that public consciousness of the issue is rising. However 62% of the seafood Australians eat is imported, which may make it tough to find out the place meals comes from.

Whereas complete sustainable seafood guides like Good Fish from the Australian Marine Conservation Society are available, we all know some folks discover them daunting and time-consuming to make use of. To make it easier, we rounded up 5 suggestions for getting higher seafood, specializing in vacation favorites.

Learn extra: What are you actually consuming? How threatened ‘shellfish’ species slip by way of the regulation and onto your plate

Oyster farms like this one in Merimbula, NSW are sometimes categorized as sustainable.

5 methods to ensure you purchase sustainable seafood this summer time

  1. Eat Australian farmed prawns. A lot of the intensive offshore prawn farming has been linked to the destruction of coastal habitats, and a few wild-caught Australian prawns have bycatch issues, which means that uncommon species corresponding to dugongs and turtles are by accident caught by trawling. In contrast, prawn farming in Australia is finished in tanks on land, typically making it a extra sustainable trade.

  2. Eat Australian rock lobster caught within the wild. This yr, lobster costs are a lot decrease than normal on account of export issues. Australia’s rock lobster fisheries are usually sustainably fished versus imported lobster.

  3. Eat Australian farmed oysters and mussels. It is laborious to go fallacious right here: contemporary native oysters and mussels are broadly obtainable in outlets and eating places and are usually sustainable. Imported choices are usually not broadly obtainable and are normally canned.

  4. Eat Australian farmed barramundi. Domestically farmed barramundi is essentially the most generally obtainable sustainable fish species. Some wild-caught Australian barramundi fisheries have issues with bycatch, whereas imported farmed barramundi have recurring illness issues.

  5. When unsure, select contemporary Australian seafood. Australian fisheries are higher managed than most others on this planet, making native fish typically the higher selection.

Information extracted from the Good Fish Information.

What to contemplate

My group and I just lately reviewed over 50,000 seafood merchandise from supermarkets, eating places and different shops in South East Queensland and located that solely 5% could possibly be categorized as sustainable.

Should you’re searching for seafood to cook dinner at residence, you will almost definitely discover sustainable choices at specialty seafood shops, which we discovered have been extra more likely to inventory Australian produce. Whereas some sustainable choices can be found in main supermarkets, they lean way more in the direction of imported seafood.

Learn extra: Do you prefer to eat fish? It is time to begin worrying the place it comes from

We all know that there are various lovers of salmon: it was essentially the most ceaselessly discovered seafood product in our survey. Virtually all the salmon bought in Australia is farmed Atlantic salmon produced in Tasmania. Sadly, this salmon is at present listed as “Say No” by the Good Fish information on account of vital environmental impacts.

On a optimistic observe, the Tasmanian salmon trade is working to handle these well-documented points and the potential for enchancment is excessive. It pays to verify the sustainable seafood pointers typically, as sustainability adjustments over time.

The Good Fish Information lists extra choices, corresponding to sustainable abalone (wild and farmed), mullet, mud crabs, and whiting.

Black tiger prawns caught in a net
Australian farmed prawns are usually thought-about extra sustainable than imported prawns and plenty of wild-caught choices.

What about consuming out?

Australia doesn’t have laws requiring origin and species labels on cooked seafood. Meaning whenever you purchase flakes, it might truly be a critically endangered species just like the hammerhead shark or college shark.

This isn’t an issue that we will resolve as particular person seafood lovers. A 2014 Senate investigation discovered that the exemption for cooked shellfish must be eliminated, however it didn’t turn into regulation.

To repair this, the federal government ought to introduce legal guidelines to enhance the transparency and sustainability of seafood, particularly in eating places and cafes. This could make Australia the world chief on this space, as many main international locations wouldn’t have necessary nation of origin labeling for cooked seafood.

As we work towards a nationwide resolution, it’s important that we vote with our wallets to purchase sustainable seafood wherever doable. It will encourage the trade we need to see and keep away from needlessly destroying our oceans.

Tia Vella contributed to this text

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