Seafood buyers asked to reconsider


MARINE conservationists are urging the seafood loving public not to buy 80 per cent of the wild harvest seafood sold over the scales at the Coffs Harbour Co-operative – in the name of sustainability.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society has circulated a ‘sustainable seafood buyer’s guide’ (left) advising consumers what fish not to buy.

The three step campaign brochure, readily available on the North Coast, urges people not to purchase trevella, shark/flake (school shark), sea perch (orange roughy), red fish (nannygai and snapper), silver bream (silver trevally), tuna (blue, big eye, yellow fin) and swordfish.

Instead, it suggests people should purchase bream, whiting and flathead.

Through the guide, the society is calling for a government mandate forcing producers to label the full name of each fish species sold by fishmongers.

The anti-fishing lobby has also mounted a media savvy campaign on the North Coast in an attempt to influence government decision making.

The timing coincides with State and Federal Governments fishing reviews in the Solitary Island Marine Park and further afield in Commonwealth waters.

“Fishing grounds are being overfished. They are depleted or fished up to their limits and that is the case with Australia’s whole east coast fisheries,” a society spokesperson said yesterday.

Hitting back at the claims, one of Australia’s major fishing industry entrepreneurs Hagen Stehr said the fiasco besetting the seafood industry has no bounds.

Mr Stehr of the Professional Fishermen’s Association, warned under Labor governments, communities like Coffs Harbour, boasting a $15 million seafood industry, should prepare for crippling changes.

He said State and Federal governments are out to secure Green votes and preferences through marine policy.

“Ignorant conservation groups with little understanding are spreading their acidic dogma to all and sundry and it looks like the present Labor Government is totally against our industry,” Mr Stehr said.

“Marine parks and no-go zones around the coast of Australia are just the start of the problems we are facing,” he said.

Australian Marine Conservation Society's fishing statistics

80 per cent of fishing grounds are overfished or depleted

50,000 leatherback and 200,000 loggerhead turtles are caught by long line fishermen

Over 70 million sharks are killed each year

14 million tonnes of fish or 17 per cent of the world’s catch is fed to pigs and chickens.

Leading fishery scientists have predicted a global fisheries collapse by 2048

Australia’s fisheries ranks 31st out of 53 world fish industries for sustainability

90 per cent of our big fish are gone - the swordfish, sharks and tuna

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