Fair Catch

This campaign calls for the Australian government to implement strong laws on imported seafood.
Stronger seafood import controls


About 65% of the seafood we eat in Australia is imported. Currently, those imports are allowed into the country and onto our plates without any rules or standards for traceability, sustainability, or ethics. Without rules or standards on imported seafood, Australia risks being a dumping ground for seafood from illegal, destructive and exploitative fisheries and farms. Along with our poor traceability and labelling requirements, it’s challenging to know what we’re really eating and where it’s from. It’s time for action – we want strong import rules and better labelling for all seafood sold in Australia, to ensure a fair catch.

Australia currently has no laws that prevent the import and sale of unethical, destructive or exploitative wild-caught or farmed seafood into our market. Without these laws, Aussies may unknowingly be eating the products of practices such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. We rely on imported seafood to meet Australian appetites – our own fisheries and fish farms simply do not produce enough. While our own industry has to meet minimum sustainability and ethical standards, unfortunately imported seafood does not. Compounding this problem, there are also no requirements to trace seafood, whether local or imported, from where it was caught or farmed, through the supply chain, to your plate. This lack of traceability along with Australia’s deficient product labelling laws leaves buyers in the dark.

Australia’s inadequate legal landscape leaves Aussies unknowingly buying and eating seafood from questionable sources. Imported seafood being sold in Australia can contribute to:
Consumers not knowing exactly what they are eating, where it is from, how it was caught or farmed, and by whom
The global decline of fish populations, putting the future of wild-caught seafood and the health of our oceans at risk
The death of threatened species of turtles, sharks, seabirds, whales and dolphins when they are caught or entangled in nets and lines
Poor worker conditions and modern slavery in overseas fishing, farming and processing industries
Putting local jobs and industry at risk as they have to compete with cheap imported substitutes that don’t meet the same standards as Australian products.

The European Union and the USA have implemented stronger rules for imported seafood to close their markets to IUU fishing, and Japan is now following their lead. With these major global seafood importers taking action, Australia is behind the curve and at risk of becoming a dumping ground for dodgy seafood.

The same rules for all seafood
Dodgy imports also impact our local seafood market. Australian seafood has to meet various sustainability and ethical rules, but imported seafood doesn’t. Our local fisheries and farmers that follow the rules are being undercut by cheap imported seafood that doesn’t have to meet the same standards. While Australia’s seafood isn’t perfect, they generally meet higher standards than many of the countries we import seafood from. It’s important to create a level playing field for Australian jobs, communities and the local fishing industry that already fish sustainably and treat their workers properly.

Our campaign
The time is right for the Australian government to implement strong laws on imported seafood. This will drive a shift towards more sustainable and ethical practices in the countries we import seafood from, provide a more level playing field for our domestic industry, and reward those at home and abroad who are doing the right thing.

Our campaign calls for the government to put in place laws and policies that ensure:
All seafood in Australia is fully traceable and properly labelled throughout the supply chain – from farm or boat to plate. Ensuring seafood is fully traceable will prevent market access by a significant proportion of IUU fisheries
Australia has minimum standards to close the market to illegal and unethical imported seafood products, and works with key seafood exporting countries to ensure we all meet our international commitments focused on protecting marine life and those who work in the seafood industry
Labelling laws empower seafood buyers to make an informed choice about what species they are eating, where it is from, how it was caught or farmed, and who by.

We’re not alone – AMCS is a key member of the Fair Catch Alliance, a group of conservation and human rights organisations and local seafood industry members who are campaigning for stronger seafood import controls.

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Campaign Details

Group Leading this Campaign: Australian Marine Conservation Society

Campaign Target Type:

Who this Campaign is Targeting: The Australian government

Main Issue of the Campaign:

Campaign Ran From: 2023 to 2024

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Fair Catch