There is currently no law that prevents illegal unreported and unregulated, unethical or unsustainable seafood from entering our local market from overseas. There’s no way of knowing it’s Fair Catch.
Contributes to the global decline of fish stocks.
Undercuts local industry and threatens Australian jobs.
Kills threatened species like certain turtles, seabirds, sharks and dolphins.
Untraceable so consumers can’t be sure what they are eating.
Obtained using modern slavery or terrible workplace conditions.
The government needs to take responsibility for the food they let into the country. By enforcing better standards for seafood imports, the government can …
Help protect consumers from undesirable products.
Support better fishing practices both locally and overseas.
Value our global ocean ecosystems and threatened species.
Protect the future of eating seafood by ensuring sustainable fisheries.
In partnership with a diverse alliance of interests across local industry and conservation, Minderoo Foundation is campaigning to help overseas fisheries improve and to end imports of undesirable seafood.
An estimated 65% of seafood consumed in Australia is imported. However, consumers cannot confidently know that it has been sustainably, and ethically sourced. There is currently no policy framework that prevents illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing products from entering our local market. There are also no comprehensive traceability requirements to verify product information from source along the supply chain.
As a consequence, Australian seafood consumers are buying and eating seafood that may come from illicit or questionable sources from both an environmental and an ethical perspective. The current arrangements mean that some of the imported seafood being sold in Australia is:
Australia has an opportunity to encourage more sustainable and ethical fishing practices in the countries we import seafood from, protect our domestic seafood industry and reward those who are doing the right thing.
Australia should take action to encourage overseas fisheries to improve their practises and to ensure that food that doesn’t meet basic minimum harvesting, production and traceability standards is not allowed into the country.
Seafood entering Australia should have basic traceability information, such as where and when it was caught and by whom. This would:
Australians must be able to choose seafood that is sustainably and ethically produced, even if it is imported. Australia should establish seafood import controls to ensure we have confidence that we know what products are and where they come from. Everyone deserves to know exactly what they are buying.
Other major seafood importers like the USA, the European Union and Japan have strengthened their import controls. Australia can too.
We the undersigned are calling on the Australian Government and Parliament to introduce new import controls that will drive improvements. We stand ready to assist in the design and implementation of a staged and comprehensive reform program that assists overseas fisheries improve practices and raises the standards of seafood imports to Australia.
Convenor of Fair Catch Alliance
Director of Flourishing Oceans Initiative,
Co-convener of Fair Catch Alliance
Head of Sustainable Fisheries,
Flourishing Oceans Initiative
Fair Catch Alliance strategic adviser
Manager Campaign and Policy,
Flourishing Oceans Initiative