Media Release Fisheries

Australian Govt looks at addressing dodgy seafood imports

December 8, 2023
  • About 20% of globally traded seafood comes from Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing.
  • Australia imports about 65% of our seafood – we could be eating illegal products and financing modern slavery
  • We need import rules for traceability, sustainability and ethics

The Australian Marine Conservation Society is pleased that the federal government is addressing the importation of seafood from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries, with the release of the draft white paper into preventing IUU imports.

AMCS Fair Catch Campaign Manager Dr Cat Dorey said: “Australia imports nearly two-thirds of the seafood we eat to meet Aussie appetites. The problem is that  those imports are allowed into the country and onto our plates without any rules or standards for traceability, sustainability or ethics. We could be eating the products of illegal fishing or modern slavery.

“We welcome the government’s draft white paper – a proposal on how to prevent Illegal, unreported and unregulated seafood imports – and look forward to the opportunity to review it in detail and provide feedback on how to improve it.

“About 20% of globally traded seafood comes from IUU fishing. It’s a significant global problem, jeopardising ecosystems, food security and livelihoods around the world.

“IUU fishing undermines international efforts to prevent overfishing, habitat destruction and bycatch of non-target fish species and other marine animals. 

“It compromises the sustainability of legal fishing operations, as well as the economic and social development of communities that rely on fishing for their livelihoods.

“IUU practices are frequently associated with poor labour standards, and with transnational crime, such as drug trafficking and slavery at sea.

“IUU fishing, labour abuses and slavery have the same root causes – a lack of monitoring and enforcement, overfishing, and the demand for cheap seafood.”