Tag Archives: conservation

How to buy sustainable seafood in Australia

A nice video showing a sustainable way to catch fish in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia
According to the “Shop Ethical” guide:
Demand for seafood has doubled over the past 30 years; three-quarters of the world’s oceans are now fished right up to their limit. Often we’re eating rare or endangered ocean species without realising it. This includes shark, commonly sold as ‘flake’ in fish and chip shops; and species such as orange roughy, bluefin tuna, swordfish, and toothfish. ‘Bycatch’ – fish caught unintentionally – often sees up to 15 tonnes of discarded fish per tonne of targeted seafood.

When buying sustainable seafood you want to ask a few questions:

  1. Buy local. Ask where it’s from and if it’s imported ask for certified sustainable seafood.
  2. Consult a seafood guide. Use the the Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide or app to choose a fish that has been sustainably caught and managed. For the best choice in tuna consult the Greenpeace canned tuna guide.
  3. Look for certified products from the Marine Stewardship Council (see below).


Good swaps

If you consult your Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, you’ll want to choose fish which are ranked “Green – Better choice”, such as Australian Bonito, Bream, Luderick, mullet, tailor and whiting.

Here are some of the more popular fish with their green – better choices:

  • Calamari – choose Squid, calamari, cuttlefish and octopus 
  • Crab - Blue Swimmer (Sand) crab, Mud crab
  • Mussels - Blue Mussels, also better choice is Green Mussel imported from New Zealand
  • Salmon - Imported canned salmon, predominantly Sockeye (Red) and Pink Salmon
  • Tuna - Australian Bonito, Better choice: troll or poll and line caught Albacore Tuna and Skipjack Tuna

Seafood guides

For choosing a sustainable fish consult one of the following resources:

Let’s Fight for the reef

I volunteer for the Australian Marine Conservation Society who in partnership with WWF (who I used to work for) are currently involved in promoting awareness in their Fight for the Reef campaign.

The Queensland Government is fast-tracking mega port developments, dredging and dumping of millions of tonnes of seabed and rock, and encouraging a shipping superhighway.

The Australian Government is approving these developments, including the world’s biggest coal port at Abbot Point, 50 km from the Whitsunday Islands.

Fight for the Reef is working with the Australian community to protect the Reef and the $6 billion tourism industry and 60,000 jobs it supports.

It’s your Reef, but you’re going to have to fight for it.
- Fight for the Reef

The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Posted for National Volunteer Week.

Book review: Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide


The Australian Marine Conservation Society has released a handy little booklet on choosing seafood wisely called ‘Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide‘. Sustainably sourced fish allow the species to repopulate and live a good life. It is a beautifully illustrated and informative guide.

Here’s a quick run down of your options:

The best choices

  • Blue swimmer crab, sand crab
  • Calamari, squid, octopus, cuttlefish
  • Mussels, blue mussels
  • Oysters, native, Sydney rock and Pacific oysters
  • Salmon
  • Sardine, pilchard
  • Trevally, black, giant, golden, bluefin and bluespotted trevally
  • Whiting, trumpeter, stout, sand, eastern school, western school, king george whiting

Think twice – heavily targeted or caught using fishing methods that damage natural habitat

  • Basa, Pacific dory, mekong catfish
  • Barramundi, barra
  • Blue-eye trevalla, blue-eye cod
  • Flathead, Bluespotted, dusky, tiger and southern sand flathead
  • Nile perch, Lake Victoria perch
  • Ocean perch, blue-eye, reef ocean perch
  • Prawns, banana, king and tiger prawns

Say no – over-fished, threatened or vulnerable

  • Atlantic salmon, Tasmanian, Smoked salmon
  • Blue Grenadier, Hoki
  • Blue Warehou, Black travally, sea bream
  • Gemfish, hake
  • Hake, Cape hake, Pacific hake, South Atlantic hake,
  • Orange roughy, deep sea perch
  • Shark, flake
  • Southern Bluefin tuna, tuna
  • Tuna, Skipjack, albacore, yellowfin tuna

You can download a free copy of the mini sustainable seafood guide (PDF) on the Sustainable Seafood website.

Kev’s patch

So why does the Australian Prime Minister not have a vegetable garden at The Lodge in Canberra? (or even at Kirrabili House in Sydney?)

I wrote to the PM last month and recently received a reply. Basically he didn’t want a vegetable garden because of Canberra’s water restrictions.

Leaders in Britain and America have started a vegetable garden. Her Majesty the Queen has her own allotment, which is no big suprise since the Prince of Wales has been a long time advocate of the organic movement. Eat the view was instrumental in campaigning the Obama family to start a Kitchen Garden for the White House.

Below is a sample letter to the PM regarding starting a vegetable garden at The Lodge or Kirrabili House for Kev’s Patch campaign. Copy or edit with your own words, and send to the PM via email in an online form.

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to encourage you to consider having a vegetable patch at The Lodge or Kirrabili House.

Recently we have seen Her Majesty The Queen, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Barack Obama add vegetable gardens to their place of residence.

A productive edible garden can be used to illustrate the solution to a number of important issues facing all Australians.

- Growing our own fruit and vegetables reduces carbon emissions by reducing the transportation of produce, and reduce household waste with composting.

- Home-grown vegetables save water. David Holgrem states that “every dollar’s worth of fruit and vegetables has needed at least 103 litres of water to mature. Every equivalent dollar’s worth of home grown food uses only 20 litres.”

- Water conservation can also be demonstrated with the use of rainwater tanks and greywater systems– one of your Government’s own initiatives.

- There are a number of drought tolerant edible plants (amaranth, beans, broccoli, cucumber, quinoa, rockmelon, tomato, watermelon) including Australian natives (bush tomato, davidson’s plum, lemon myrtle, midyim, native lime, native ginger, native rosella, scrub cherry, riberry, warrigal greens, wild raspberry) that could be grown to show that drought conditions are not an impediment to having a productive garden.

- Gardening is a good way to exercise and can assist families save money in these trying economic times.

Clive Blazey of The Diggers Club has worked out that you need “only 24% of the potential water from roof collection or just 37% of the potential recycled greywater” to grow enough fruit and vegetables to support a family of four. Clive’s article uses figures that are based on Melbourne, which has a similar annual rainfall to Canberra. Alternatively, Sydney has a higher rainfall and more relaxed water restrictions, so there’s no reason why Kirrabili House couldn’t have a vegetable patch.

I would love to see the Australian Prime Minister take the initiative on this relatively inexpensive project to set an example on how gardening can play a part in tackling water conservation and climate change.

Yours sincerely,