Australia: Seafood sustainability truth required Published: 05 March, 2008
SEAFOOD Experience Australia has expressed concern that the Australian community is being “grossly misled” by many of the conservationist groups and, in particular, by the recent advertisements of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and statements from the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
Company secretary Bob Cox said:We believe that the Australian community deserves accurate information which is communicated in an uncomplicated fashion and is relevant. Governments, both Federal and State/Territory, set the quotas, create the management regimes and parameters for professional fishers licences. This is done in a rigorous and inclusive manner and based on a strong scientific approach, which ensures that every fishery is following the principles laid down in the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999 – something which must be audited to ensure that any product from that fishery can be exported. It is not, as we are falsely led to believe by many conservation groups, something that the professional fishing industry does without any Government controls.
Also along the way, when reporting or advertising any of these matters, the issue of aquaculture seems to get lost. It should be noted that MSC has a certifying system, one of several systems in the global seafood world, which excludes aquaculture as a method of harvest, a fact which they do not broadcast, continued Mr Cox.
At a time when FAO is reporting (FAO Food Outlook, Global Market Analysis, Nov 2007) that production in fish and fishery products is set to expand, largely on the back of rising output from aquaculture, and in other reports are indicating that 75% of the world’s marine resources are in good shape, we do not believe that the Australian community should be taken down the incorrect path of “gloom and doom” by these groups. People need to ask the question of these organisations as to whether they are working towards sustainability (is a characteristic of a process or state that can be maintained at a certain level indefinitely) or conservationism (protection and preservation).
“We urge the Australian community to work with the seafood industry and the governments to forge a strong sustainability platform to ensure the long term future of Australia‟s seafood heritage it is so important for the health and well-being of our nation.
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