New sustainable fish scheme launch in Australia based on Coles' sourcing framework

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

Whichfish.com.au informs the seafood industry about the stock and environmental and management risks involved with specific species of wild-caught Australian seafood.
Whichfish.com.au informs the seafood industry about the stock and environmental and management risks involved with specific species of wild-caught Australian seafood.
A new framework based on retailer Coles’ Responsibly Sourced Seafood project has been launched by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) of Australia to help food firms secure sustainable produce.

Whichfish.com.au informs the seafood industry about the stock and environmental and management risks involved with specific species of wild-caught Australian seafood.

“Whichfish will make it easier for businesses to determine which seafood to source by providing them an independent assessment of the risks associated with wild caught Australian seafood,” s​aid Patrick Hone, managing director of FRDC.

At a click, food firms can find a list with the target species, state of jurisdiction, fishery, method of fishing, state of the species, the environmental impact, and so on.

The Outlook section in Risk Scores indicate for each particular species if the situation is improving, worsening, stable or uncertain. Risk assessment reports are available from the website. The entire list can also be downloaded in Excel format for future reference.

There are currently close to 30 species on the list, and the number will grow throughout the year. Some of them include Australian Sardine, Balmain Bug, Blacktip Shark, Saddletail Snapper, Brown Tiger Prawn and Western King Prawn.

Based on Coles’ framework

The new system is based upon Coles Supermarkets Australia’s Responsibly Sourced Seafood framework that helps food businesses source fish responsibly.

The venture claims that using this reliable, existing framework helps to rapidly screen fisheries of uncertified sources, as well as to easily identify major sustainability issues.

This further helps to effectively assist seafood buyers in procuring seafood from fisheries that are relatively well-managed and have lower relative risk to the aquatic environment from which they are sourced.

“Coles recognises well-managed and responsible fishing is essential for future sustainability of our marine ecosystems, which is why since 2015 all our Coles brand fresh, frozen, thawed and canned seafood has been responsibly sourced,” ​said James Whittaker, head of Quality and Responsible Sourcing for Coles.

Whichfish includes elements from the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) benchmarked Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Standard version 2.0, which it says is “neither a duplicate of it nor a substitute for it”. ​The site does also show seafood products from fisheries that have been third-party certified by a scheme benchmarked to the GSSI Criteria.

“We are delighted with the FRDC initiative, which will help continue the sustainability journey in our industry,” ​said Whittaker.

The FRDC is working to add more species in the course of the year.

Related topics: Markets, Supply chain, Seafood, Oceania

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