Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing the Australian seafood industry, has hit back at the news leading Australian restaurants will "no longer serve unsustainable seafood" calling the campaign bogus and scaremongering.
"We are disappointed to see the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) touting their 'seafood guide' as fact once again," SIA CEO Jane Lovell said.
"Sadly, these chefs appear to have fallen for a 'good sell' by AMCS, rather than seeking out the true, peer-reviewed data.
"If these chefs and the Australian public are looking for accurate information on the status of Australian fish stocks our door is always open. Also, there is a free, easy-to-use app called 'SAFS – Sustainable Fish Stocks', which is based on data collected and reviewed by 135 of Australia's fisheries scientists. The SAFS app provides on-the-go access to true and correct information on the sustainability of Australian fish stocks.
"Let me be clear, despite their claims the AMCS is in no way responsible for the collection, collation, management of data or the reporting of fish-stock levels for any of Australia's fisheries. Responsibility for this sits with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), who for the fifth consecutive year (2018) endorsed the sustainability of Australia's Commonwealth-managed fisheries.
"In addition, the 2019 Status of Australian Fish Stocks Reports were launched at this year's ABARES Outlook Conference and is the most comprehensive guide to the sustainability of our fisheries. The reports were developed by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation – Australia's leading, genuinely independent fisheries research body.
"More than one hundred Australian fisheries scientists were responsible for producing the report, and a further thirty-five fisheries scientists anonymously reviewed it. Who is academically reviewing the AMCS's 'data'?
"The AMCS is unfairly targeting well-managed Australian fisheries, rather than celebrating their sustainability.
"Australia's Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF), operating out of Northern Queensland, was awarded the internationally recognised Sustainable Seafood Certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in 2012. The NPF covers approximately 880,000 square kilometres of Australia's northern waters, including the entire western coast of Queensland, and less than 12 per cent of those waters are fished.
"Our Atlantic Salmon industry is certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), who set the global benchmark for responsible aquaculture practices. Tassal was the first Atlantic Salmon farm in Australia to achieve certification across all its sites in 2014.
"The AMCS's assessment of Australia's Atlantic Salmon farms fails to factor in their ASC certification and the substantial improvements and investments made by all three of the primary companies during the past 12-months, which have demonstrated environmental improvements.
"During the last 12-months all companies have ramped up their investment into infrastructure, environmental programs and biosecurity protocols, which have been well documented and well recognised.
"Unlike the AMCS, we applaud the many Australian fisheries that have achieved certification to standards like MSC and ASC. But, it is important to remember that the very fact it is Australian seafood means it has been sourced sustainably due to the high level of regulation, reporting and monitoring that underpins our industry.
"As fishers, our priority is the ocean. We advocate the health, sustainability and future of our sea. It's our livelihood and the future livelihood of generations to come. We dismiss any comments otherwise."