If seafood is imported, diners still won’t know which country it has come from
State ministers agree to limited seafood labelling for restaurants, cafes and clubs
Seafood labelling laws must include the country where it was caught or farmed, as well as the country where it was processed
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has welcomed the decision by state and territory consumer affairs ministers for limited labelling of seafood in restaurants, cafes and clubs, but says they must go further and identify the country where seafood was caught or farmed.
From 2025 seafood will be labelled as either being from Australian, imported or mixed origin (the AIM model). This will bring eateries closer into line with fish shops and seafood retailers, which must also show where the final product was imported from. The latest figures suggest more than 65 per cent of seafood bought by Australians is imported.
AMCS Fair Catch Campaign Manager Dr Cat Dorey said: “The introduction of a new labelling approach on seafood is an important step forward to ensure consumers are getting more information on their seafood when they are eating out, but it needs to go further.
“Australians need imported seafood to meet our appetite for seafood and there are imported species that are from sustainable sources. With so much of our seafood demand relying on imported products, simply having labelling limited to ‘Imported’ does not enable consumers to make the informed, sustainable choices they are seeking and deserve.
“In order to know what we are eating and its impacts on marine life and people, we need to know the species name, where and how it was caught or farmed, and by whom. Seafood guides around the world, including AMCS’s GoodFish Sustainable Seafood Guide, require this level of information to accurately and fairly identify better seafood choices and flag those at high risk of being from unsustainable and unethical sources.
“To enable an informed choice for consumers, AMCS is calling for the introduction and establishment of consistent national end-product labelling requirements, at all points of sale for all wild and farmed fish products and seafood, which include species name, fishing method, point of capture and who caught it, or farming method and country, and exporting country.”