1. Australian Fisheries Management - enforcing catch limits and take methods for sustainability.
Australian fisheries management is recognised as some of the best, and most forward thinking fisheries management in the world. All Australian Fisheries are under either State or Federal fisheries management with nearly the sole regulatory requirement being about sustainability. That means stock take and method for each type of fishery in Australia is managed for the purpose of limiting take and limiting bycatch, or other environmental impact. An example of this would be the stopping of scallop dredging in Port Philip Bay a few years ago. It is now a dive fishery as the dredging was considered to be too environmentally impactful. Biomass is monitored through a range of mechanisms, research agencies and catch data analysis and 'black market take' is prosecuted with extremely hard penalties. There are not many examples in recent years of quota being reduced, or fisheries closed down because of reduction in bio mass. Some would suggest this evidence of the management getting it right over the last 20 years or so in understanding on the basis of accumulated evidence what sustainable take is for various fisheries and implementing and enforcing the limited take.
2. Freezing Fish
The reason why I portion pack and snap freeze at the source is to limit fresh food waste. This also acknowledges that we are harvesting a limited resource, and using resources to harvest it. To the extent that we harvest it, I believe we are obligated to ensure that we use all of that resource and not waste any of it. Evidence suggests that Australian's throw away about 30% of their fresh food that goes past useby. A lot of this goes to landfill where it it actually responsible for creating really bad greenhouse gases. Portion packing and freezing means that this doesn't happen to the seafood that I buy from the local fisherpersons. (of course it doesn't hurt that it means it is also always therefore the freshest fish in the seafood cabinet:) Organic fish emulsion fertiliser is now also being produced from the by product of some Australian fish. It is not only exceptionally good fertiliser, and is organic which contributes to the sustainability of farming practices, it is also contributing to using 'every single bit' of the resource. I am hopeful that more seafood producers will begin to do this as others show the way.
3. Packaging and labelling fish
The side benefit of packaging seafood to reduce waste is that it can also provide the consumer with the utmost faith in the integrity of the claim about where the fish comes from. Imported fish may be a lot cheaper than Australian fish, and the reasons for that is because regulation like Australia's is either absent, or simply not enforced to any extent. All Australian fisherpeople pay significant licensing fees to the Government so that the resources are in place for monitoring and surveillance and enforcement of the relevant regulations. I have also been working for the past 12 months to try and refine and improve the packaging that my seafood comes in. To decrease the opportunity for pollution in our oceans I have wanted to put my product in biodegradable packaging. This is not done yet, but I am closer than before (when there wasn't really an option but people are now making biodegradable vacuum sealable bags which they were not before). However, a large body of research is now suggesting that biodegradable plastics are not a particularly good choice for environmental benefit. In the meantime, if everyone can make sure wild south packaging goes in the recycling (and kept well away from our oceans) we will not be increasing the environmental burden.
My emphasis, as I believe with Fisheries Management generally in Australia, and certainly with the fisherpersons that are my partners, is that we are always thinking about sustainability and thinking about how we can continually improve our practices.
Here is a link to an article that addresses some of the myths and issues surrounding seafood sustainability:
A word about using the word 'organic'
Some people may find it surprising how many times I am asked if my product is 'certified organic'. Or, when I have described wild caught seafood as organic, I am advised that, without certification, I cannot call wild south fishes 'organic'.
The definition of organic: Oxford dictionaries: 2). (Of food or farming methods) produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals:organic farming organic meat
By definition, wildcaught fish is organic because it is NOT farmed.
Which also means that no certify agency can actually certify it. There are no farming methods to control, or audit. You cannot certify the Southern Ocean.
NASA Organic and Biodynamic Standard (Australian organic certifying body) 7.28 FISH AND CRUSTACEA GENERAL PRINCIPLES:
This Standard covers carnivorous, omnivorous and herbivorous organisms of all types and at all stages of growth, grown in any form of enclosure such as earthen ponds, tanks and cages (open and closed systems).
Organisms that are moving freely in open waters, and/or that are not capable of inspection according to general procedures for organic production, are not covered by this Standard.
How clean is the great big grey blue green Southern Ocean
We can always do better. But, pretty good. Some consumers are aware of research which has shown deep sea pelagics storing high levels of residue heavy metals in the North Atlantic. Australian studies are also regularly undertaken , in different fisheries, and different waters around Australia to monitor and understand the effects of run off, and pollution in our seas and oceans.
Some of that research, which shows that Australian seafood is not contaminated with pollutants in the same way as some of those Northern hemisphere studies, can be accessed here:
Some legal compliance stuff you may be interested in
All Wild South Seafood complies with, and exceeds in some instances, the requirements of the relevant Australian and State and Territory legislation relating to safe food handling, food labelling, and transportation of perishable goods.
These laws include:
- The Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code
- The seafood is filleted, packaged, and frozen on premises operating pursuant to HACCP requirements and which are audited regularly.