Australian consumers are consuming more sustainable fish and seafood products with the number of on-shelf, sustainable seafood products doubling in the past year.
“From approximately 60 such products at the beginning of 2011, we have more than 120 today,” Brian Pate, communications manager for Australia and New Zealand at the Marine Stewardship Council, told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“Australia was the world’s second fastest growing market in terms of the number of MSC certified products on sale between January 2011 and January 2012.”
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is the international non-profit organisation that manages the distinctive blue labelling system that identifies and certifies sustainable fish and seafood for consumers.
According to Pate, these can be found at leading retailers Woolworths, Coles and Aldi, and include private label brands and the likes of John West, Birds Eye, Pacific West, Talley’s and Fish4Ever.
“These products include pink and red salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, pollock, hake, hoki, herring, mackerel and mussels,” said Pate, adding that there are currently four MSC-certified fisheries in Australia, with three more under assessment.
He pointed out that there is increasing environmental awareness among Australian consumers, who are looking to purchase seafood that is independently proven to be sustainable.
“Growth is also being supported from the supply chain that is increasingly looking to source sustainable seafood and provide consumers with sustainable seafood choices,” he remarked.
Coles sustainability commitment
Jon Church, head of communications at Coles Supermarkets, told FoodNavigator-Asia that Coles was committed to sustainable fish and seafood.
“Almost 90% of our wild caught fresh fish has been assessed as a sustainable choice by WWF. We have not yet completed assessments of farmed fish, frozen fish or crustaceans,” he said.
Church revealed that the retailer is planning to launch a new range of Coles Brand frozen boxed Hoki fish that is MSC certified.
“We also have Coles Brand canned tuna which is 100% sourced from the more sustainable skipjack tuna. Last year we launched a new Coles Brand pole and line caught sustainably sourced canned tuna.”
Church said Coles is committed to stop selling any fish that doesn’t meet the World Wide Fund sustainability criteria by the year 2015.
Not surprisingly Pate remarked that he expected the momentum to continue and, “the number of Australian MSC labelled products on sale in Australia to increase significantly in the years ahead.”