The seafood industry is looking for technology which can decipher if imported products are being sold as Australian, a practice which the Australian Prawn Farmers Association describes as “rife.”
According to the ABC, Helen Jenkins from the Australian Prawn Farmers Association said some Australian retailers are mislabelling cheaper, imported prawns as Australian.
“It’s rife. It’s fraudulent,” she said. “Some of the retailers are selling imported prawns as Australian.
“It’s not fair for consumers.”
The industry is searching for technology which can identify fraudulent labelling, and Jenkins said there may be some solutions in testing technology used in other food industries.
The industry is calling for clearer labelling of seafood products, with Chris Calogeras from the Australian Barramundi Farmers Association claiming it would help to reduce confusion amongst consumers.
"Barramundi has an iconic Australian name and so when people buy Barramundi they assume their buying Australian fish, and their not,” he said.
The ABC reports that between 5,000 and 6,000 tonnes of barramundi are produced in Australian each year, valued at $50-60 million. Approximately 1,500 tonnes are wild-caught, and 13,000 tonnes are imported.
Helen Jenkins said prawn farming could be as much as 17 times bigger in Australia if red tape was removed for local producers and clearer labelling was introduced, with overseas investors keen to buy into production systems in Australia.
Each year, Australia produces about 4,000 tonnes of prawns in ponds, 22,000 tonnes are wild caught and 46,000 tonnes are imported.
Just last week a new campaign promoting accurate labelling was announced, with chef Matthew Evans partnering with Greenpeace and the Australian Marine Conservation Society to drive reforms.