The Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) fishery and farms have achieved an important milestone by being awarded the international Sustainability Certificate of the “Friend of the Sea,” a non-profit NGO which is the world’s largest certifier of seafood.
The Friend of the Sea sustainability award is the only one which covers both the catching of the Bluefin from the wild and the value-added farming of the catch. It has high credibility and recognition in the key markets for Australian Bluefin.
The industry appreciates the support provided by the South Australian Government to achieve the landmark certification. The SA Government itself continuously audits the industry and those audit reports were important in the independent certification process.
A major strength of the Friend of the Sea certification is that it covers all parts of the Bluefin Chain of Custody. This includes the sustainability of the fishery, of the ecosystem (including any bycatch), of staff safety and labour conditions, carbon footprint of organisations, product testing and traceability, animal husbandry and welfare, vessel monitoring and waste management.
Friend of the Sea is an international certification program for products from sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. Over 500 companies in more than 50 countries have relied on Friend of the Sea to assess the sustainability of their seafood origins. Audits, based on best and most updated available scientific data, are run by accredited independent certification bodies. Email: [email protected] or visit their website: www.friendofthesea.org.
Launched in March 2012, the Adopt a Beach program was created to address concerns from the Eyre Peninsula community about aquaculture-related marine debris.
Fisheries Minister Gail Gago said the program had delivered significant benefits to the coastal environment.
“All sorts of things have been collected, from land-based debris such as tyres, clothing, refrigerators and food packaging, to materials related to aquaculture and commercial and recreational fishing activities such as rope and plastic.
“It’s great to see industry playing an important role in the protection of our aquatic and coastal environment, which underpins the Government’s strategic priority of Premium Food and Wine from our Clean Environment.
ASBTIA/FRDC Project 2008/227 SOUTHERN BLUEFIN TUNA RESEARCH PROGRAM: COORDINATION, FACILITATION AND ADMINISTRATION
The final report for this project has gone to print and is now available to stakeholders through ASBTIA or FRDC.
The aim of the project was to coordinate, administer and facilitate strategic and cost effective research for the Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna ranching industry.
It implemented the agreed Strategic Research and Development (R&D) Plan for the SBT aquaculture industry for the period of 2008-2013. This was achieved through the ASBTIA Industry Partnership Agreement (IPA) with the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) facilitated by the SBT Research Program.
Research meeting the needs of industry
This project was essential for the development of a cohesive R&D approach aimed at meeting the priority needs of the SBT Aquaculture Industry. The industry had developed rapidly since its initiation in 1991 and had the opportunity to continue to do so. However targeted R&D was needed to underpin this development and to assure the long-term sustainability of the industry in an increasingly competitive international market.
Over 4 years the program managed 6 projects worth about $4.8 million (ASBTIA and FRDC funds, not including research organisation and industry in-kind). It has built on the portfolio of previous Program management projects, addressed challenges that have arisen and successfully delivered desired outcomes.
This level of cooperative research between institutions and industry is arguably unparalleled in Australia Fisheries and Aquaculture, which was reaffirmed by the Executive director of FRDC and the President of the BHERT Awards.