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SCI 4-year project sures-up Australian wild prawn integrity

Australia’s wild prawn industry is continuing its work with Source Certain International (SCI) for another four years, taking another step toward guaranteeing the integrity of Australian wild prawns and strengthening the market’s security.

The continuation of the contract to 2025 with Western Australian scientific technology company, SCI, signals the industry’s commitment to sure-up the provenance of the wild-prawn market and reinforce consumer confidence that the prawns they buy are Australian.

The collaborative provenance project which was first launched in 2019 with over 2 years of verified samples, heralded a world-first for the seafood industry – where SCI’s scientific provenance technology, TSW Trace, powered an industry-wide provenance program protecting the integrity of Australian prawns.

SCI’s program, developed in collaboration with Curtin University and the Australian Council of Prawn Fisheries (ACPF), involves all Australian wild-catch fisheries and uses trace metal, isotope and stable isotope analysis to determine a unique chemical fingerprint for each individual fishery, which form the Provenance Database.

The work to 2025 involves multiple verification activities annually and will include all retailers of Australian prawns.

In addition, this program will also evaluate the stability of trace element profiles of wild prawns across all prawn fisheries to assess the period of reference sampling that is required.

Managing director for SCI, Cameron Scadding said studies have shown seafood is misrepresented at a rate of 30% globally, “and that costs Australian seafood exporters more than $189 million and erodes consumer confidence.”

He said, “substitution rates in Australia are unknown and often unreported as there have been limited tools available to accurately identify the product origin.”

Valued at $361m, Australia’s prawn industry produces 23,218 tonnes annually which equates to 19,000 wild and 4,200 tonnes of farmed prawns combined.

Furthermore, the industry has invested more than $2.6 million in the “Love Australian Prawns” program to promote Australian prawns.

Operating since 2013, the Love Australian Prawns campaign was established to encourage Australians to celebrate more often with Australian Prawns all year round.

ACPF has championed the project. Annie Jarrett, ACPF Chair, says that robust traceability and provenance systems are areas of increasing importance to Australian consumers.

“Our industry wants to be able to scientifically verify the provenance of Australian wild prawns at any point in the supply chain globally,” said Jarret said.

“We want consumers to have the confidence that when they buy Australian wild prawns, that’s what they are getting. With this provenance technology, consumers can trust our provenance claims and can also track our Australian wild prawns back to the fisheries where they were caught.”

Managing Director of SCI, Cameron Scadding said, “the commitment to this program and ongoing work demonstrates the importance the industry places on ensuring consumers get what they pay for and that they can trust wild Australian prawns.”

The project has been jointly funded by the ACPF and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) managed by Dr Janet Howieson, through the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University.

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