Landslide wipes out main salmon farm in NZ

A New Zealand Salmon farm, Anatoki Salmon, has lost all its stock for the next two years after a large landslide wiped out its main farm.

According to stuff.co.nz, the landslide ruined the main part of the freshwater salmon farm, which contained between 50,000 and 70,000 adult and young salmon.

"We have worked so hard for eight years, and now it’s all gone," said Jan Dissel, who runs the property with Gerda Dissel.

The pair have since been trying to save between 60,000 and 80,000 salmon eggs and salmon fry in the hatchery after its water supply was cut off by the landslide.

The salmon farm on the Anatoki River began in 1998 as Golden Bay Salmon Fishing and began trading as Anatoki Salmon Farm in July 2001 before being bought by the Dissels in 2005.

Anatoki Salmon has since grown into a tourist hotspot, where visitors are able to catch their own salmon.

 

Seafood Watch praises MSC for environmental sustainability standards

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program released the results of a year-long benchmarking study which assessed the environmental credentials of wild capture certification programs.

The study confirmed that the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is currently the only wild capture certification program with a standard equivalent to Seafood Watch's strict environmental sustainability criteria.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium commissioned an independent team of scientists to compare certification programs to the same ratings system that Seafood Watch employs by examining the credibility of certification and ecolabelling programs.

The report found that MSC’s program was the only program robust enough to meet Seafood Watch’s strict criteria for environmental sustainability and also commented on MSC’s chain of custody standard which offers additional assurance through traceability solutions for consumers and seafood buyers.

As a result of the study, Seafood Watch will now:

  • Describe all MSC certified fisheries as “buy recommendations” to all its partners and to consumers
  • Highlight MSC certified fisheries in all information and guidance for consumers, chefs and supply chain businesses
  • Cease its own assessments of fisheries that are certified to the MSC standard

“This independent study by one of the most respected and recognised marine conservation organisations in the world confirms again that the MSC program is working as intended; and that the rigor, credibility and impartiality of the MSC standard and its application continue to be judged the best in the world,” said Rupert Howes, MSC chief executive.

“This is great news for the growing numbers of consumers and businesses that want to make the best environmental choice in seafood, and well-deserved recognition of all those certified fisheries that are helping secure the future health of our marine resources.”

 

Tassie’s aquaculture industry to receive a $7m boost

The federal government has provided a $7m grant towards Tasmania's Macquarie Harbour Aquaculture Hub.

Anthony Albanese, Tasmania’s regional development minister has said that the funding will provide an invaluable boost to the Tasmanian and West Coast industries as reported by The Mercury.

“This funding will make it possible for the major Tasmanian salmon growers to turn their vision into a reality,” said Albanese.

“The Aquaculture Hub will include wharves, buildings and associated infrastructure that will enable these Tasmanian companies to double their production of salmon and trout at the harbour.”  

Albanese said that aquaculture was a major growth industry in Tasmania and the additional funding will see the creation of up to 100 jobs during construction, followed by a further 163 jobs on the completion of the project in 2016.

Albanese says that many businesses with ties to the industry have expressed an interest in establishing operations at the Hub.

“Businesses that support aquaculture, such as ship chandlers, ship builders and repairers, and logistics operations have all expressed an interest in establishing new operations at the hub,” he said.

Federal Member for Braddon, Sid Sidebottom said the $7m was an integral part of the planned $60m expansion at Macquarie Harbour and predicts that the project could represent the building blocks for a billion dollar industry.

“It will transform the economy of the West Coast with flow-on effects to the whole of the state,” he said.

“It is a great example of the diversification of the Tasmanian economy that’s underway.”

 

Hokkaido scallop fishery gains MSC-certification

Japanese scallop fishery, the Hokkaido Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Association, has today received certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Started in the late 1800s, the Hokkaido scallop fishery has an annual harvest of 400,000 metric tonnes, but last year reached 410,000 metric tonnes, making it the world's largest scallop harvest.

The scallop (Patinopecten yessoensis) is supplied to domestic markets as well as to Southeast Asia, Europe and the US, where demand for MSC-labelled seafood is high.

Hokkaido scallops are now eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel which assures seafood buyers that they are traceable to an MSC-certified fishery which is both sustainable and well managed.

Takehiro Sakuraba, chairman of the Hokkaido Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Association, said "I'm proud of Hokkaido’s scallop fishery as an example of best practice in catch-and-grow fisheries. Our scallops have become internationally known as one-third of the whole catch in Hokkaido is exported.

"This was the context for our ambition of achieving the internationally recognised MSC-accreditation for sustainable fishing, and we are delighted that we have been successful."

Rupert Howes, MSC chief executive said Hokkaido's certification will improve its reputation both in Japan and overseas.

"This iconic fishery has provided a wonderful and renewable source of food for over two centuries and has also made an important contribution to the local economy and security of the livelihoods of both fishers and others involved in related industries. I have no doubt that this tremendous achievement will generate a lot of interest from both the domestic and international markets that are increasingly concerned about the sustainability and provenance of their seafood choices.

"I wish the Hokkaido scallop fishery every success in meeting their existing and new customers’ demands for certified and sustainable seafood," he said.

 

Oyster crop hit by disease

An unknown flesh-eating disease has killed millions of dollars worth of Pacific oysters in Port Stephens, and has caused financial devastation for many growers.

The Department of Primary Industries said yesterday it was also investigating mysterious deaths of previously unaffected Sydney rock oysters.

The department’s scientists are trying to identify the disease to curtail any further damage to the industry.

There is concern the incident at Port Stephens, along with the recent Hawkesbury River oyster deaths, may result in an oyster shortage in NSW.

Many growers told the Newcastle Herald the disease, which first emerged in January, had ruined their 2013 winter crop as well as next year’s crop.

“It’s pretty much wiped me out – it’s had a massive impact on the industry,” Lemon Tree Passage grower Paul Merrick said.

He has lost 80 per cent of this year’s crop, worth $200,000.

The disease, which was first noticed in January, is not related to Pacific Oysters Mortality Syndrome.

This destroyed Pacific oyster supply around the Hawkesbury River.

Algal sampling by the Department of Primary Industries showed levels of algae Pseudonitschia is three to five times higher than in previous years.

“Pseudonitschia is not noted as a risk to shellfish but sometimes these blooms can irritate the oyster’s gut lining, which could exacerbate any pre-existing conditions,” a spokeswoman said.

"The Department of Primary Industries is also assessing water-quality data to try to identify factors which may be affecting oyster health."

She added growers affected by natural disasters or disease events could lodge an application for a fee waiver for financial hardship.

Port Stephens oyster growers’ industry representative Richard Hamlyn Harris said growers want to know the cause of the disease.

“It’s certainly very strange – I haven’t come across a set of circumstances like this,” he said.

Blueyou announces sustainable prawn sourcing program

Blueyou Consulting has announced the Selva Shrimp program, an initiative to sustainably source black tiger prawns.

The program combines ground-level aquaculture improvement work in Southeast Asia with business-to-business services for sustainable shrimp sourcing.

The main focus of the program is in Kamao, in southern Vietnam.

Marketing for Selva Shrimp products will focus on Australia, Europe and North America, and the food service sector is a major target for the prawns.

 “We believe that our initiative has made a significant step towards achieving the sustainability goals the market has been seeking,” local project manager for the Selva Shrimp, Anh Pham said.

“Our major goal is to build relationships with the farming communities and local authorities to foster the sustainable development of this unique shrimp farming sector- and we hope that our efforts in Vietnam are rewarded in the marketplace.”

According to Blueyou, raising prawns in integrated mangrove forest farms is the most sustainable method. By preserving a functional ecosystem of mangrove forests and aquatic species, prawns are bred without the use of feed, fertilisers or chemicals.

The ecosystem depends wholly on its own natural productivity. The forest is a source of natural food for prawns. 

“There are already prawns in this ecosystem naturally. But what the farmers started to do was just add a few more of this variety of prawns, the black tiger prawns in the system.

"They just eat all the nutrients, like the leaves, and come down from the river systems and they just clean the water and that’s how they grow,” programme manager Australia & Asia-Pacific of Blueyou Urs Baumgartner told Food Magazine.

Baumgartner explained mangrove systems are traditional farm systems that have always been in use. In Vietnam they were implemented after the Vietnam war. The government decided to capitalise on this type of farming, and farmers discovered an additional income sources.

But with Vietnam being an intense farming country, disease became an issue. Also, in the last few years there has been pressure to cut the mangroves down.

“That’s when the idea came to work with this farm and the local government to become aware of the importance of the mangroves and the system to create an initiative to stop them from further cutting these trees,” he said.  

The Selva Shrimp criteria are subject to an independent on-site verification process. It will undergo regular monitoring and independent verification by a third-party auditing body.

The shrimp farm criteria centres on better farming systems and the preservation of mangroves. The chain of custody criteria protects the integrity of the supply chain and the traceability of harvested shrimp.

The criteria include compliance with all legislation, allowance for organic natural fertilisers and compost from within the farm boundaries and group approval for small-scale farmers.

Baumgartner said there is an authority that should control the forests called the Forest Management Board in Vietnam. They are like forest police who make sure farmers do not destroy the forests. But he added that while strict laws are in place, enforcement of the laws is not effective.

Another shellfish contamination scare in TAS

Sixty people have fallen sick after eating contaminated oysters in southern Tasmania.

They were infected by norovirus after eating the oysters. Norovirus often causes gastroenteritis.

All oysters from Barilla Bay Seafoods have been recalled from the market after health authorities identified the outbreak on Tuesday.

According to themercury.com.au, no one was hospitalised but some visited doctors and went to the Royal Hobart emergency department.

Barilla Bay Oysters general manager Justin Goc said the company is working closely with the Director of Public Health, Dr Roscoe Taylor on the matter.

No oyster products from Barilla Bay Oyster have been sold by Mure’s Lower Deck since March 30.

He has asked the public to throw any oysters they bought from the company on or before March 31, or from Mure’s Lower Deck between March 28 and March 30.

God said the oysters at lease 113 at Dunalley were exposed to an external environmental contamination and this issue is isolated to this lease.

The company will conduct a survey of the lease to examine the source of the contamination.

This is the second case of contaminated oysters in Tasmania in a week. Several people became ill last Thursday after eating oysters bought in south eastern Tasmania.

But health authorities have said the two cases are a coincidence.

These are not the first cases of shellfish contamination in Tasmania this year. In February, shellfish in Great Oyster Bay were tested after the return of a toxin-producing algal bloom, which damaged fisheries last year.

In November last year, Spring Bay Seafood’s shellfish farm in Tasmania closed, with Food Standards Australia New Zealand recalling its mussels. The mussels contained a paralytic shellfish toxin.

Aldi announces sustainable seafood partnership

On Sustainable Seafood Day, Aldi has announced its engagement with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) to help evaluate the sustainability of its seafood range.

The partnership enables Aldi to work closely with SFP to develop programs and strategies to ensure the sustainability of its supply chain, and meet its commitment to source sustainably wild caught or farmed seafood.

ALDI Australia was the first Australian retailer to launch a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified Albacore Tuna product in January 2010 and in August 2012, the company launched a new fish buying policy. It is now working towards having all wild caught fish sourced through sustainable and equitable methods by 2016.

In order to achieve this, Aldi will trace its entire canned tuna range, from where it was caught through its supply chain and into stores. By 2014, each canned tuna product will have the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) catchment area printed on its lid, enabling consumers to see exactly where the tuna was caught. By 2016, the entire canned tuna range will be sourced using a combination of the available sustainable options including Pole & Line caught and FAD-Free methods.

“Our partnership with SFP assists us to further form the foundation of our seafood sustainability work at Aldi. We recognise the value that SFP bring to the table in respect to fishery and aquaculture improvement, being so highly regarded throughout the seafood supply chain,” an Aldi spokesperson said.

Seafood Sustainability Day is an annual event, celebrating and rewarding MSC-certified sustainable seafood, fisheries and retailers. It tries to encourage the industry to embrace certification and urges consumers to buy sustainably.

The CEO of the Commonwealth Fisheries Association (CFA), Trixi Madon, said that sustainability was a growing concern for modern consumers, but that it was a huge strength of Australia’s fishing industry.

“If you are going to eat seafood, Australian is an easy choice to be sure of sustainability,” she said.
“Australian­caught seafood is a product that’s great for human health, caught by Australian fishers, and it’s being harvested with great respect for the marine environment.

“That’s a combination you can’t find in many places around the world,” she said.

 

Fine Food awards praise Aussie producers

The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria has awarded five champion trophies to producers Australia-wide as part of the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards’ Autumn Program.

This is the awards' first year and it received 284 entries across the four categories: Bread and Baked Goods, Pantry Goods, Packaging and Cider and Perry, with 138 medals awarded overall.

In the Bread and Baked Goods category, champion trophies were awarded to Rustica Sourdough Bakery (VIC) for Passionfruit Curd Filled Tart and Sweetness The Patisserie (NSW) for Gluten Free Caramel Tart.

Three champion trophies were awarded in the Pantry Goods category, with Liv Luv Gourmet Foods and Robinvale Estate (VIC) taking out champion cereal / muesli for Fine and Sunny Granola, while Neumos Produce (VIC) won champion nut product for Goulburn Valley Hazelnuts.

Champion salt/spice was awarded to The Natural Spice Company (VIC) for La Baobab, Noccas, West African Paste.

The Regimental Condiment Company received a packaging champion trophy for The Officer’s Tasting Tin.

While no champion trophies or gold medals were awarded in the Cider and Perry category, five silver medals were presented. These went to Vok Beverages (SA) for Three Oaks Cider; Henry of Harcourt (VIC) for Kingston Black; Napoleone and Co. Cider (VIC) for Methode Traditionnelle Apple Cider; and Pear Cider and Little Creatures Brewing (VIC) for Pipsqueak Cider.

RASV CEO, Mark O’Sullivan, said, "On behalf of the RASV, I congratulate all medal winners on achieving excellence in fine food production at the inaugural Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards’ Autumn Program.

"The RASV is delighted to acknowledge superlative produce with the Autumn Program, and is proud to support Australian producers and offer unique marketing opportunities."

Fine food producers from Victoria were awarded 78 medals overall, while NSW took out 27 and Queensland 19. South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia were awarded eight, five and one respectively.

Moving north, at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show's Aquaculture Competition, two first-time exhibitors have taken home major awards.

Pialligo Estate from the ACT was awarded the Champion Salmon Product for its Traditional Smokehouse Fillet of Smoked Salmon.

The Champion Trout Product went to Snowy Mountains Trout Farm, located in Tumut in Southern NSW, for their Smoked Rainbow Trout Fillet.

Both producers also won a Gold and a Bronze medal each.

Sixty-two medals were handed out at the Aquaculture Competition, across categories including Farmed Prawns; Sydney Rock Oysters; Smoked Salmon and Ocean Trout (cold and hot smoked); Salmon or Trout Caviar; Smoked Rainbow Trout; and Salmon or Trout Pâté.

Gold Coast Marine Aquaculture had a successful Show, picking up two Gold medals and a Silver, as well as being named Champion Prawn Exhibit for its Gold Coast Tiger Prawns.

Tathra Oysters once again took home the title of Champion Sydney Rock Oyster Exhibit as well as three Gold and one Silver medal. 

Steward-in-Chief Gerry Andersen said the quality of this year's entrants was extremely impressive, and gave special mention to the Oyster category.

"The floods had a devastating effect on the North Coast oyster farmers but the quality of the entrants from waters that were not affected was very high with the Champion Oyster again an exceptional example of what can be achieved with careful farming," he said.

For more results, click here.

 

TAS seafood industry threatened – again

Fishing groups and producers in Tasmania are anxiously waiting  for the results of tests determining the impact of a new algal bloom on the east coast.

According to themercury.com.au, shellfish in Great Oyster Bay are being tested after the recurrence of a deadly, toxin-producing algal bloom which damaged fisheries last year.

"All we've been told is that it has recurred in Great Oyster Bay and there are high readings there, and that up our way, Ansons Bay and surrounds, there were lower levels," Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishermen's Association chief executive officer, Rodney Trelogge, said.

Last year was a difficult one for the state's seafood producers, with the algal bloom resulting in the introduction of a ban on eating shellfish from much of Tasmania, as well as a worldwide recall on mussels and a short season for scallop, abalone and rock lobster fishers.

Tasmania seafood producers aren't the only ones in strife at the moment. Earlier this year Hawkesbury oyster farmers in NSW had millions of oysters wiped out following an outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome.

Many of the region's 15 growers are sceptical they'll have any produce remaining by the end of the year.

 

King Oscar Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Product name: King Oscar Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Product manufacturer: Manassen Foods

Ingredients: Brisling Sardines (78%), Olive Oil (21%), salt

Shelf life: Indefinite. The good thing about canned fish is that the fish remains fresh until the can seal is broken, so as long as the integrity of the can remains good (i.e. no rust, no severe dinting, etc) the fish remains as good as when it was packed and sealed

Packaging: 106g aluminium cans, with ring pull lids, sealed with an outer film label.

Product manager: Scott White

Brand website: www.kingoscar.com

What the company says
When it comes to sardines, size matters – the smaller the sardine, the more delicate and delicious the flavour. And King Oscar, set to celebrate 100 years in Australia, produces the smallest sardine species of them all.

As Australian consumers become increasingly concerned about the source of their food, they can rest assured about the purity of the King Oscar label.

King Oscar only use the remarkably tiny and tender brisling caught wild in waters off the Norwegian fjords and the North Sea, and harvested at maturity for peak quality. They are lightly oak-wood smoked, which gives them their unique mild taste.

King Oscar sardines are carefully packed by hand to preserve their delicate quality and texture, until ready to be consumed.

Not only do their consistently deliver great taste, they are nutritional too – naturally rich in Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and high in protein.

King Oscar sardines come in top-grade extra virgin olive oil, soybean oil and in a variety of delicious gourmet sauces.

 

Woolworths joins Taronga Zoo in seafood sustainability committment

Taronga Zoo will be helping Woolworths to achieve its goal of ensuring all wild-caught fish is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council by 2015.

The supermarket chain has also agreed to ensure its Select tuna range uses pole- and line-caught stocks by the end of this year, reducing the amount of bycatch including dolphins, sharks and juvenile fish.

Tuna company John West last year copped serious criticism for its use of "destructive" fishing methods, with Greenpeace launching a Reject John West campaign and protestors even congregating outside John West's Melbourne headquarters dressed in shark suits.

John West's website now states that "By 2015 John West will end sourcing tuna from fisheries using methods that current science shows to be unsustainable such as the use of FAD-associated purse seine caught tuna and will only sell tuna caught using environmentally responsible methods, currently defined to include pole and line and unassociated purse seine."

Taronga Zoo's partnership with Woolworths involves a multi-million dollar investment over three years, with Woolworths becoming the principal supporter of Taronga’s Great Southern Oceans precinct. Funds will also directly support a range of the Zoo’s marine protection programs.

Director of Taronga Zoo, Cameron Kerr said "The oceans need our help, and Taronga has long been an advocate for marine conservation. Our Sustainable Seafood campaign has been successful in educating our visitors to make informed choices. By joining with Woolworths, we can empower not just the Zoo visitors, but the 21 million shoppers that walk through Woolworths’ doors each week. I‘m proud of the aims of this important partnership and believe it will make a huge difference to protect marine wildlife."

 

Government to help Hawkesbury oyster farmers

State government assistance will be offered to Hawkesbury oyster farmers after millions of oysters were wiped out last week following an outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome.

It was confirmed earlier this week that the virus had spread to half of the area's stock, reports SMH, and many of its 15 growers are sceptical they'll have any produce remaining by the end of the year.

John Stubbs, chairman of the Broken Bay Oyster Association, told SMH, "The harvest for the end of the year has been wiped out.

"This year we had on order 10 million oysters, so basically you can wipe 50 percent off that straight away," he said.

The recent heatwave could have reduced the oysters' immunity to the virus, contributing to its  outbreak. It could also have spread naturally in ocean currents or via boat hulls or commercial ships' ballasts.

 

Millions of Hawkesbury oysters lost overnight

Oysters in the Mullet Creek, the Hawkesbury's tributary, have been struck down with the Pacific oyster mortality syndrome, affecting about 20 percent of the local industry.

According to SMH, the tributary is "the local industry's nursery for juvenile stock", and oysters which were perfectly healthy on Monday – millions of them – have been wiped out overnight.

Many of the area's 15 growers are now sceptical that they'll have any produce remaining by the end of the year.

Oyster farmer Rob Moxham told SMH, "In 24 hours it wiped out probably about 90 percent of the oysters over a 50-hectare area … It's just so devastating."

The outbreak causes no risk to humans, but has affected about 20 percent of the local industry's 245 hectares.

A quarantine in now in place to prevent its spread, and Ian Lyall, the Department of Primary Industries will be meeting with farmers next Tuesday to discuss assistance.

It's thought that the recent heatwave could have reduced the oysters' immunity to the virus, which could also have spread naturally in ocean currents or via boat hulls or commercial ships' ballasts.

 

Tassal’s Easy Bake Salmon

Product name: Easy Bake

Product manufacturer: Tassal

Ingredients: Tasmanian grown Atlantic Salmon, various herbs and seasoning depending on the flavour.

Shelf life: Two years

Packaging: Two salmon fillets, each in their own oven-bake-bag which locks in flavour.

Product manager: Caroline Hounsell

Brand website: www.tassal.com.au

What the company says
Australia’s largest Atlantic salmon producer, Tassal, has launched a convenient and tasty range of frozen salmon which makes enjoying salmon for lunch or dinner easier than ever.

Tassal’s Easy Bake Salmon range includes three delicious flavours including Sweet Chilli, Herb Butter & White Wine and Natural. Simply pop the Bake-In-Bag in a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or in the microwave for three minutes and it is ready to eat.

Tassal spokesperson Caroline Hounsell said the Easy Bake range offers consumers a new level of convenience and flavour when it comes to frozen salmon.

“Our Easy Bake range includes pre-prepared, beautifully flavoured individual salmon fillets, making it incredibly easy to eat salmon every day."

Tassal Easy Bake Salmon is available in Woolworths at $9.95 RRP.


 

Kangaroo Island needs investment to reach full food potential

Members of Kangaroo Island's booming food production and manufacturing industry have expressed their frustration at a lack of government investment.

According to Adelaide Now, poor roads, high freight costs, inadequate power and talk of developing marine parks, which could damage the Island's seafood industry, are proving to be serious roadblocks for producers.

Good Food Kangaroo Island chairman, Justin Harman, said "Six years ago we won the Vogue Entertainment best Regional Produce Award for Australia and since then we've seen the development of a range of new products.

"We're going through a second phase of growth and when you look at the variety of food from a small area, it would be hard to beat," he said.

The region produces some top quality products, including lamb, beef, seafood, free range eggs, sheep milk cheeses, marron, cherries, olive oil, ducks and its famous ligurian bee honey – not to mention one of the country's largest abalone farms, KI Abalone Farm and Kangaroo Island Pure Grain.

The region is also a leader in cool climate vegetable production.

Ensuring the area can reach its full potential, however, will depend on the government's willingness to invest in its infrastructure.

Kangaroo Island mayor, Jayne Bates, told Adelaide Now, "The problem is most producers can't meet the demand for their produce and you come back to the shortage of power and other infrastructure problems."

"We need a $100 million-plus power upgrade," she said, arguing that the reason Kangaroo Island's

economy isn't improving is because of infrastructure failings including an upgraded airport, improved roads and more power, because half the island runs on diesel.

"I've seen what the island has achieved with no assistance, imagine what we could do with some assistance."


 

Country of origin labelling for SA seafood

South Australian restaurants and takeaway shops will now disclose whether their seafood is local or imported, with new legislation coming into effect next month.

According to Adelaide Now, Independent senator Nick Xenophon and independent MLC John Darley teamed up to introduce state and federal legislation requiring fish retailers to clarify where their produce comes from.

George Mazarakos, who owns Soto's Fish Shop at Semaphore told Adelaide Now he'll happily comply. "I've always sold local fish here anyway except for butterfish so I'm happy to add the word 'imported' to my menu," he said.

As it stands, the country of origin of raw seafood sold anywhere in Australia but be outlined, but the same rules don't apply if it's cooked for immediate consumption. At present, only the Northern Territory has such rules for cooked seafood, with South Australia's legislation taking effect next month.

Ian Harrison, chief executive at Australian Made, says such legislation should be introduced nationwide.

"It would make good business sense for fast food outlets across the country to supply Australian produce and aggressively market it as such.

“We believe in helping consumers make informed choices, and the extension of country-of-origin labelling to cooked food where practical would be another step in the right direction.”

Country of Origin labelling has been a key issue in the food and beverage manufacturing industry of late, with a CHOICE survey conducted last year finding that 55 percent of Coles’ private label products and 38 percent  of Woolworths’ products were grown or manufactured locally, compared with 92 percent for market leader groceries.

Despite these statistics, consumers are keen to support the local food industry, with nearly half of all shoppers going out of their way to buy Australian-made produce, while more than one-third buy Australian wherever possible. There have even been calls from the industry for a dedicated “Australian made” aisle in supermarkets.

 

Out with Argentina, in with Australasia for Sealord

The Sealord Group is selling its Argentinian wing and restructuring its business to focus more on opportunities in Australasia.

The seafood harvesting group is also consolidating its mussel interests in an existing joint venture with New Zealand seafood company, Sanford, according to stuff.co.nz

Sealord's international management team is being restructured with three divisions set up to focus on Australia and its deepwater fishing business.

Chief executive Graham Stuart said inflation and other factors caused them to exit Argentina, after buying into a joint venture in 2000.

"Our strategy is more Australasian-focused and more value-add focused, and this is more in the commodity end of the business," he said.

Stuff.co.nz says Sealord operate two freezer trawlers from Argentina, targeting hoki, southern blue whiting and silver warehou.

Sealord will also be adding all of its mussel interests into North Island Mussels, of which it has a 50 percent share, after entering into a joint venture last year with Sanford.

 

Tassal breaks new ground with BAP certification

Tassal has become Australia's first salmon producer to achieve full Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification at farm level.

The BAP standards address environmental and social responsibility, animal welfare, food safety and traceability in a voluntary certification program for aquaculture facilities including shrimp farms and hatcheries; salmon, tilapia, channel catfish and Pangasius farms; seafood processing plants and feed mills.

In certifying salmon farms, The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) considers factors including community relations; worker safety and employee relations; sediment and water quality; storage and disposal of farm supplies and biosecurity and disease management.

"We are extremely pleased to announce the certification of Tassal," said Peter Redmond, VP of Global Development for the GAA.

"We applaud the actions taken by Tassal and welcome it to the growing number of retailers and suppliers sourcing and supplying BAP products for their consumers in the Australian marketplace."

 

New report clears the waters on seafood sustainability

A landmark new national Australian fishing stock report shows that the majority of Australian fisheries are healthy and well managed.

The inaugural Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks Report,  the first national snapshot of fish stock status undertaken in Australia, found that 90 percent of the wild-caught stocks in the report were from sustainable stocks.

The report,  which is now online and available for public access, examines for the first time 49 of Australia's most popular wild-caught seafood species divided into 150 different stocks around the country and covering 70 percent of the Australian commercial fishing industry.

Of the 150, 98 stocks were classified as "sustainable", 11 as being in a "transitioning " phase either up or down, while 39 had insufficient data to allow them to be assessed. Two stocks –  school sharks and souther bluefin tuna – were classified as "over fished".

Their status is colour-coded into green, yellow and red ratings under a system that's aimed at making it an easy tool for consumers to use in identifying the most sustainable fish to purchase.

Dr Patrick Hone, head of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, said the report had been an immense challenge to pull together.

 "We are really celebrating today," he said at the Sydney launch of the report held at Bondi Beach seafood restaurant, The Bucket List, which Food magazine attended.

"This report is now something we can build on – it's a blueprint that we can use to continue to identify and improve where we need to."

Martin Excel, chair of the commonwealth fisheries association, told Food magazine the report's findings are very encouraging, and the report itself is a win for sustainable seafood, as it saw governments and 80 scientists from across the country working together to come up with a single reporting mechanism, using the same benchmarks for their research.

He says, however, that there's more work to be done. "Groups like WWF could say ‘well that’s true, the actual target stock is sustainable, but have you looked right across the fishery and seen whether catching that fish impacts on other species, like a seabird or a mammal?' So we can't oversell it [the report]. It is great news, that 90 percent of seafood stocks are rated as sustainable but that still leaves us plenty to do in terms of ensuring that a) the other 10 percent is well and truly sorted out ,and b) that we’re looking at the broader environment when we’re dealing with fishing.”

 

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