Nearly Half Of Australians Don’t Know Where Their Seafood Is From

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 18th April 2019

A new study by the Australian Barramundi Farmers Association has uncovered nearly half of Australians (41%) don’t know whether their seafood is local or imported, prompting questions of retailers and hospitality industry professionals.

Considering 60% of barramundi is imported, just over half of the respondents (50.4%) agreed they would look, or ask, for Australian barramundi if they knew the majority was from overseas.


Jo-anne Ruscoe, executive officer of the Australian Barramundi Farmers Association said the findings  were concerning, particularly in the lead up to Easter when seafood consumption peaks.

“Australians have a right to know where their seafood is from and make an educated choice on whether they purchase Australian or imported seafood. Our challenge is that many people understandably think all barramundi is Australian with its aboriginal name and longstanding position as our ‘national fish’.”

“There are real Australian farmers at the core of this, and while there’s room in the market for everyone, it’s important that it’s clear for Australians which fish is from Aussie farmers because our research has found that consumers do care,” she said.

New regulation was introduced for country of origin labelling in retail in July last year, however there is still no regulation around the hospitality industry to include country of origin on menus, an issue which Seafood Industry Australia is lobbying to change.

“Unfortunately, during last year’s regulation tightening there were no requirements placed on the foodservice sector,” Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) CEO Jane Lovell said.

“This means that when you go out to dine, there is no obligation for businesses to label where the seafood you are about to order and eat comes from. But, this information is legally required in supermarkets and at fishmongers.”

“To give consumers the right of choice and seafood producers a fair go, the Australian Government needs to introduce legislation, so the foodservice sector has to label seafood with its country of origin, just like seafood retailers do.”

The survey also uncovered a pescatarian diet is on the rise, particularly with the younger generation aged 24-35, with 30.5% of respondents saying their diet includes fish and seafood but no other meat. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and high in protein, it’s unsurprising that barramundi featured in the top 3 seafood species for its pleasing flavour and health benefits.

In addition to eating more seafood, purchasing from supermarkets is shifting to fish markets and speciality seafood shops, which have seen an increase from 15% in 2011 to 18% in 2015 to 31% in the current study.
Moving with the times, the study also found that blokes are taking more responsibility for the household shopping with 41.5% (slight increase from 2015 at 40%) reporting that they did the bulk of, or jointly shared, the household shopping duties.

This research was conducted with 2,000 participants led by Prof. Meredith Lawley, University of Sunshine Coast Food Research Group, 2019.

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