Much of Queensland’s iconic seafood remains unsustainable and has been red listed in the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s (AMCS) GoodFish sustainable seafood guide, following new assessments.
The latest update to the fully independent guide recommends popular seafood items in Queensland like wild caught barramundi, Spanish mackerel and prawns should be avoided either due to overfished stocks or the dangers to marine wildlife posed by the fishing methods used to catch them and a history of under-reporting.
There are however some success stories in the state, with GoodFish assessors green listing most of the Reef Line Fishery’s target catch, including coral trout. The Guide also adds several new sustainable seafood options caught from Great Barrier Reef waters to the green list, including spangled emperor, hussar and stripey snapper.
AMCS’s Queensland fisheries expert Simon Miller said Queensland fisheries like the east coast trawl and coastal gillnet fisheries were still doing too much damage to Queensland’s iconic marine life.
“These fisheries must urgently implement independent scrutiny of the accidental catch of protected species, known as bycatch. There are massive discrepancies between the bycatch reported in fisheries logbooks and what is actually happening out at sea,” he said.
“Queensland seafood lovers and chefs don’t want a side of endangered sawfish or turtle with their barramundi – they want to know what they are eating has been caught without sacrificing iconic Queensland wildlife. It’s such a shame that you still can’t enjoy a truly sustainable wild caught prawn in Queensland.”
Mr Miller said the Queensland government had not been compliant in some cases with its own obligations under national environment laws with regard to monitoring and minimising the impact of the state’s fisheries on threatened and endangered species or implementing best-practice fisheries management.
AMCS recently found key actions in the Queensland government’s Sustainable Fishery Strategy 2017-2027 have yet to be addressed, particularly in relation to recovering depleted species like scallops and Spanish mackerel, and reducing the risk of fishing to iconic threatened species like dugongs, turtles and sawfish.
Mr Miller said fisheries in the sunshine state should be looking to the Reef Line Fishery for inspiration when it came to reforms, and listen to seafood lovers in the state, who are demanding the best sustainable practices from fishers and fisheries management.
“In addition to healthy and resilient fish stocks, this fishery operates within a world class conservation management regime in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Recent best-practice management reforms such as a broader range of scientific stock assessments, implementing a robust harvest strategy and Vessel Monitoring systems deserve our praise for both industry and Government.
“We encourage other Queensland fisheries to commit to truly sustainable reform too, and once they have done the work and delivered the results, we look forward to standing behind them and presenting their produce to our supporters and the dozens of Queensland businesses and venues which have committed to no longer serving or selling ‘red listed’ unsustainable seafood as part of our GoodFish program.”
All the GoodFish guide Queensland wild caught updates can be seen here.
Notes to editors
The GoodFish Sustainable Seafood Guide is an independent guide to the sustainability of seafood found at Australian fishmongers, supermarkets, fish and chip shops and restaurants.
Using a traffic light system and based on the latest scientific data, the guide informs users on any threats to protected species or fish stocks, and provides details on how the seafood is fished or farmed.
The Guide was created in response to demands from the public who wanted to know which seafood picks are the best for our oceans and its wildlife.
GoodFish is available as a free app and online. Visit goodfish.org.au.