The discussion paper provides a positive step forward towards implementing a framework that protects and informs Australian consumers, creates a level playing field for the domestic seafood sector and encourages overseas fisheries to improve their practices long-term.
Australia does not have a comprehensive import control scheme aimed at preventing IUU products from entering the country. With 65% of all seafood consumed in Australia imported, it is critical the federal government establishes a regulatory framework that ensures all imported seafood meets basic sustainable and ethical standards.
Requiring seafood that is coming into Australia to include traceability information, including where and when it was caught and by whom, would greatly reduce illegal and unsustainable products from entering the country. This would mitigate the risk of seafood fraud, help protect threatened marine species, and level the playing field for Australia’s seafood industry.
The Fair Catch Alliance looks forward to working with the federal government and parliament in assisting with the design of a reform program. Australian shouldn’t let food into the country that doesn’t meet minimum standards for sustainability and human rights. Ultimately, there should be the same rules for all seafood.
The responsibility to ensure our seafood meets minimum standards should not be left entirely to consumers, retailers, or the hospitality sector. The Australian Government must seize this opportunity to share the responsibility and implement reforms at the border that stops undesirable, unethical and unsustainable seafood from entering the country.