Australia's Sustainable Seafood Day breaks new ground
Significant increases in support from consumers, restaurants, cafes and workplace canteens - and a number of important supply chain announcements - have made Australia's annual Sustainable Seafood Day (SSD) event, held on March 18, by far-and-away the most successful in its history, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to MSC.
Thousands of Australian consumers and more than 150 restaurants, cafes and canteens - a quantum leap from the 29 participating establishments last year - helped celebrate sustainable fishing practices, by eating or serving Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified seafood on the day.
The success of this year's event highlights the growing strength of consumer preferences for sustainably-sourced seafood, and the role of restaurants, cafes and canteens in helping to satisfy that demand.
Foodservice companies play an important role
More than 120 of Compass' workplace canteens and cafes took part this year, through their Eurest, Scolarest, Medirest, ESS, Restaurant Associates and All Leisure Hospitality brands.
These included sites at Google, Bluescope, Mercedes Benz, The Reserve Bank of Australia, Taronga Zoo, IBM, Pfizer, David Jones and a number of government agencies, hospitals, universities and TAFES.
In addition, Sodexo Australia had a further 15 sites from across the country involved.
Patrick Caleo, MSC Manager ANZ, congratulated both organisations: "The outstanding contribution of Compass and Sodexo to this year's Sustainable Seafood Day highlights the crucial role foodservice companies can play in transforming the seafood market to a sustainable basis."
A number of independent restaurants and cafés also took part this year. To see the complete list of independent establishments that took part this year visit www.msc.org/cook-eat-enjoy/ssd/whos-involved .
Adding to its success, Sustainable Seafood Day was also the focus of Taronga Zoo's seal shows and a cooking demonstration by celebrity chef, Simon Bryant from the ABC's The Cook and the Chef, at the Adelaide Showground Farmers Market.
Chef and acclaimed author, Tom Kime, also spoke at an SSD media event - held at Fish & Co Café - attended by more than twenty-five consumer, food and hospitality, business and environment journalists.
Caleo says, "This year's Sustainable Seafood Day has been an outstanding success on all fronts. It is great to see so many consumers, foodservice companies, restaurants, cafes and canteens actively celebrating sustainable fishing practices and playing a role in safeguarding seafood stocks for future generations. The event has greatly increased the awareness of the role the MSC plays in promoting solutions to the issues being caused by unsustainable fishing."
Top retailers announce sustainable seafood sourcing policies
This year's SDD event was also the backdrop to major supply chain announcements from Australia's two largest retailers - Woolworths and Coles - who announced sustainable seafood sourcing policies on the day.
Woolworths announced it had introduced Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified canned salmon to its Select range, and will introduce MSC certified canned albacore tuna this April.
Woolworths Director of Supermarkets, Greg Foran said, "We want to assist customers in making more informed and sustainable fish choices. We are enabling this by providing options, at an accessible price point."
Coles Merchandising Director, John Durkan says, "Coles is committed to providing customers seafood they can enjoy in the knowledge that it comes from a sustainable source."
Coles has joined forces with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to develop a three-year action plan to move their seafood offer to a more sustainable footing and will be working closely with their seafood suppliers and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to provide their customers with more Coles Brands seafood from certified sustainable fisheries.
"Coles Brands canned salmon range comes from MSC certified sustainable wild caught fisheries and our products from the 2010 catching season will be labelled with the MSC logo. MSC labelled Coles Brands salmon will be making its way into our stores during 2011."
Patrick Caleo, of the MSC says, "Woolworths and Coles join a growing list of existing supporters, including Aldi, Birdseye, and John West, who are playing a key role in supporting MSC certified fisheries."
"This is a big step and we are extremely pleased to be working with Australia's two largest supermarket chains to help transform the seafood market to make it more sustainable. By stocking MSC certified seafood products, Woolworths and Coles are providing consumers with the tools to make more informed choices, and are making a real commitment to helping safeguard the world's fish stocks."
Woolworths announce funding incentives for MSC assessment
Woolworths also announced it will offer funding incentives under its Fresh Food Farming sustainable food program to a select number of fisheries in its supply chain to conduct MSC pre-assessments and develop improvement plans for more sustainable practices leading to MSC certification.
"By supporting fisheries through the MSC pre-assessment process, and any required fisheries improvements, Woolworths are taking a strong leadership role, and will be working in partnership with the fishing industry to contribute to real improvements on the ground. As a direct result of their support, select fisheries that may not have been able to meet the cost of the MSC pre-assessment can now do so," Caleo says.