Australia currently has no laws that prevent the import and sale of unethical, destructive or exploitative wild-caught or farmed seafood into our market. Without these laws, Aussies may unknowingly be eating the products of practices such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
We rely on imported seafood to meet Australian appetites – our own fisheries and fish farms simply do not produce enough. While our own industry has to meet minimum sustainability and ethical standards, unfortunately imported seafood does not.
Compounding this problem, there are also no requirements to trace seafood, whether local or imported, from where it was caught or farmed, through the supply chain, to your plate. This lack of traceability along with Australia’s deficient product labelling laws leaves buyers in the dark.
© Biel Calderon / Greenpeace
Australia’s inadequate legal landscape leaves Aussies unknowingly buying and eating seafood from questionable sources.
Imported seafood being sold in Australia can contribute to:
- Consumers not knowing exactly what they are eating, where it is from, how it was caught or farmed, and by whom
- The global decline of fish populations, putting the future of wild-caught seafood and the health of our oceans at risk
- The death of threatened species of turtles, sharks, seabirds, whales and dolphins when they are caught or entangled in nets and lines
- Poor worker conditions and modern slavery in overseas fishing, farming and processing industries
- Putting local jobs and industry at risk as they have to compete with cheap imported substitutes that don’t meet the same standards as Australian products.
The European Union and the USA have implemented stronger rules for imported seafood to close their markets to IUU fishing, and Japan is now following their lead. With these major global seafood importers taking action, Australia is behind the curve and at risk of becoming a dumping ground for dodgy seafood.
© Alex Hofford / Greenpeace – Tuna transshipment
The same rules for all seafood
Dodgy imports also impact our local seafood market. Australian seafood has to meet various sustainability and ethical rules, but imported seafood doesn’t. Our local fisheries and farmers that follow the rules are being undercut by cheap imported seafood that doesn’t have to meet the same standards.
While Australia’s seafood isn’t perfect, they generally meet higher standards than many of the countries we import seafood from.
It’s important to create a level playing field for Australian jobs, communities and the local fishing industry that already fish sustainably and treat their workers properly.