SA invites supermarkets to its fisheries

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 23rd March 2011

South Australian Minister for Fisheries Michael O’Brien said today that South Australia’s reputation as one of the world’s best-managed fisheries put the state in a solid position to benefit from nationwide retail campaigns in support of sustainable seafood.

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths both announced new sustainable-seafood policies last week, timed to coincide with the Marine Stewardship Council’s Sustainable Seafood Day last Friday. Woolworths will work with the MSC, and Coles with WWF, to improve the impact of their seafood.

“While this approach should be commended, both supermarket chains should look beyond seafood
certified by environmental groups to also look to South Australia as a world leader in sustainable
fisheries and aquaculture management,” Minister O’Brien says.

“Just because a fishery does not have an independent certification such as those offered by the
Marine Stewardship Council or WWF, that does not mean it is not sustainable.

Among other changes Woolworths is making, the supermarket giant will financially support its suppliers to commence the process of obtaining certification.

“South Australia’s fisheries management arrangements, including our stock assessment methods have proven to be accepted as international best practices.

“For example, the Spencer Gulf prawn fishery was recently recognised as being one of the best
managed fisheries in the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United

“In its report “A global study of shrimp fisheries”, the organisation praised the Spencer Gulf prawn
fishery as a global model of fair, flexible and accountable management.”

Minister O’Brien says South Australia has had strong fisheries management legislation since 1968
which requires sustainable use, development and protection from over fishing.

“This strong legislation has allowed South Australia to enjoy sustainable fisheries and regional
economic development and has also resulted in some of our world first management initiatives being recognized as international best practice,” he says

“I would urge Coles and Woolworths to reach out beyond environmental groups and engage in
discussions with Australia’s various fisheries management authorities about the status of local fish
stocks and the fisheries management practices that underpin their sustainability.”