Saturday, June 22, 2024

63% of Aussie prawns certified sustainable

New data from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) reveals the “most sustainable year of prawns yet”, with 63% of annual Australian prawn catches now MSC-certified.

Certification to the MSC Fisheries Standard means demonstrating “healthy fish stocks, minimised ecosystem impacts and effective management” through independent audits held annually.

It’s expected that Australians will tuck into at least 22,000 tonnes of prawns during the festive period, according to the MSC.

“The abundance of MSC certified banana prawns from Australia’s Northern Prawn Fishery due to heavy rainfall in early 2023 means shoppers can expect significant savings,” says the organisation.

“Coles is selling MSC certified banana prawns as low as $14 per kilo, compared with at least $20 per kilo in previous years.”

Australian Council of Prawn Fisheries Executive Officer Rachel King encourages Australians to stock up.

“The average weight of prawns purchased by Australians at each shopping trip usually peaks at 1.3kg in December,” she says.

“This year, with prawns in plentiful supply, Australians are encouraged to put more on the table. Make it 2kg or take home a 5kg box of prawns frozen at sea, keep it in the freezer, and enjoy on long summer days.”

Despite the prawn feeding frenzy, according to the MSC most surveyed Australians (86%) are concerned about the state of the world’s ocean, including the effects of overfishing.

Therese Murphy from the Ocean King Prawn Company which will be fishing for prawns right up to Christmas Eve urges shoppers to request MSC certified prawns when shopping.

“As our first year holding MSC certification, we’re able to supply our customers with top quality, delicious seafood, with the added assurance that our prawns are sustainably caught,” she says.

While environmental concern runs high, so does confusion, with recent reports of widespread greenwashing, prompting the ACCC to release new guidance last week for businesses’ making environmental claims.

MSC Program Director of Oceania and Singapore Anne Gabriel says knowing what to look for is crucial.

“Look for credible labels such as the MSC blue fish tick which give assurance all the way through the supply chain that your seafood comes from an independently certified sustainable fishery meeting the MSC’s global sustainability requirements,” she says.

“Aussies can feel proud that by continuing to choose MSC certified sustainable prawns now, we’re safeguarding future supplies of affordable prawns at Christmas well into the future.”

The MSC blue fish tick label can be found on around 400 sustainable seafood products at all major supermarkets.

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