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Sustainable Seafood Awards Australia winners announced. The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) unveiled the annual Sustainable Seafood Awards Australia winners at the launch of the Super Seafood campaign to raise awareness about ASC and MSC certified seafood.

Coles was named the MSC’s Best Sustainable Seafood Supermarket, and the ASC awarded ALDI the Best Responsible Seafood Retailer title. MSC’s Best Sustainable Seafood Product – Shelf went to John West Salmon Bowls.  I&J was named ASC’s Best Responsible Seafood Brand, and Birds’ Eye Frozen Steam Fresh Fillets took the ASC’s Best Responsible Seafood Product award home.

A special Lifetime Achievement was presented to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Director General Heather Brayford for her outstanding contribution to sustainable fisheries management in Western Australia in a career spanning 35 years.

The Sustainable Seafood Awards Australia are independently judged and recognise organisations and individuals who contribute significantly to ensure we have fish forever through their commitment to the ASC and MSC programs. Anne Gabriel, MSC Programme Director and Duncan Leadbitter, ASC Commercial Manager, added:

“Super Seafood is certified to the world’s best seafood standards for people and the planet. The commitment of brands and retailers to source and sell ASC and MSC-certified seafood sends a clear signal down the supply chain and incentivises sustainable fishing and responsible aquaculture practices.

“It also meets consumers’ growing expectations and demands for healthy, affordable, sustainable seafood. We’re encouraged to see real progress made in the last year by leading brands and retailers in moving to ASC and MSC-certified seafood.”

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, food is the single strongest lever to optimise human health and environmental sustainability on Earth. Shifts in production and consumption patterns can significantly reduce the costs associated with unhealthy diets and climate change by 2030, according to the World Food Forum.

“By better managing our fisheries and farms, a greater quantity of healthy fish and seafood would support more nutrient-rich diets, helping to prevent deficiencies in important nutrients such as zinc, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12.”, adds Gabriel and Leadbitter.

Globally, there are 1800 ASC-certified farms, 550 MSC-certified fisheries, and over 46,000 products with the ASC and MSC labels.

Speaking at the Super Seafood launch event, Tim Rudge of Yumbah Aquaculture, who won the ASC’s Best Responsible Producer award for the second time in a row, said:

“Recognition from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council as the Best Responsible Producer is an honour and a wonderful reflection of the efforts of the Yumbah team to maintain the highest possible standards of craftsmanship and care. The ASC is the premier global standard for Aquaculture stewardship, and Yumbah could not be more proud to have been selected by the ASC for such exciting and rewarding recognition.”

Adding to the importance of indigenous people’s role in fishing, Winner of MSC Sustainable Fishing Hero, Uncle Derek Walker, Managing Director of KutiCo, explained how the Kuti fishery has gone from selling bait to selling high-value products in supermarkets.

According to GlobeScan, 79% of Australians believe that supermarkets’ and brands’ claims about sustainability and the environment must be clearly labelled by an independent organisation. ISEAL, the global membership organisation for credible sustainability standards, define credible claims as clear, accurate, relevant, and backed up by transparent and robust systems.

Speaking about their award, Daniel Baker, ALDI’s National Sustainability Director, said:

“It’s fantastic to receive recognition from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council for our responsible fish and seafood sourcing. To be awarded the Best Retailer award as well as the Aquaculture Champion award reflects the effort and dedication of our team towards making a good difference throughout our entire supply chain while also providing the highest quality products to our customers,”

“Every customer that walks through ALDI’s doors can be rest assured that by saving money at the checkout on ALDI’s high quality products that they can ultimately also make a good difference for both people and the planet simultaneously,”

Coles General Manager Own Brand, Quality, and Responsible Sourcing Charlotte Rhodes, said:

“We’re driven to help our customers better understand the potential environmental impacts of the products they purchase. The transparency that comes from the MSC blue fish tick label helps customers make more informed and sustainable choices at the checkout.

“This recognition from the Marine Stewardship Council acknowledges our commitment to providing MSC-certified responsibly sourced seafood to our customers, as well as our efforts towards achieving a more sustainable and environmentally conscious seafood industry in Australia and abroad.”

In December, the ACCC released eight principles to guide businesses’ environmental claims:

“These principles provide clear guidance for businesses to support credible claims. As well-established and credible certification bodies aligned to these principles and those set out by the United Nations, we stand ready to work with businesses throughout the seafood supply chain to assist with mandatory ESG reporting, eliminate consumer confusion and tackle some of the pressing environmental challenges facing humanity,”  concluded Gabriel and Leadbitter.