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What is Sustainable Seafood?

For wild caught fish, sustainable seafood is generally sourced from fish stocks that are in abundance using methods that don’t damage ocean habitats or catch large volumes of non-target species (bycatch).

Sustainably farmed seafood is grown in aquaculture systems that don’t destroy coastal habitats or depend on overfished wild caught fisheries as feed.

Why is sustainable seafood important to us?
Seafood is an integral part of our fresh food offer so healthy oceans, sustainable fish stocks and a viable fishing industry are all essential to our business.

Our customers love their seafood. It’s healthier, easy to prepare and it tastes great. As seafood consumption increases, we want to help restore and improve fish stocks in the oceans and create a sustainable and secure supply of seafood not just for today but well into the future. We are also supporting our suppliers so that we continue to have a viable fishing industry.

Our commitment


Our aim is to ensure that all our seafood comes from sustainable sources. 


Wild-caught seafood

Our long term ambition is to have all our wild-caught seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or equally credible certification schemes. 


MSC is the world’s leading independent certification and eco-labelling scheme for wild-caught seafood. To achieve MSC certification, fisheries must demonstrate - through a rigorous, independent assessment process – that the stocks being targeted are not overfished, the fishing practices have minimal impact on the marine ecosystem and overall the fishery is well managed.

 MSC logo pictured below


Farmed seafood

For farmed seafood, our aim is to have all the products certified to sustainable farming practices by credible third party certification schemes by 2015. 
The certification schemes recognised by Woolworths at this time are: 

  • The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) 
  • The Global GAP Aquaculture 
  • The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA)

Sustainable Seafood in our stores


Seafood counters

We stock the following certified sustainable seafood in our seafood counters:

  • Australian banana prawns, Spencer Gulf kings prawns, NZ Hoki and Ling, smoked cod and Western Australian rock lobster are MSC certified. 
  • 100% of the fresh salmon sold in our stores is sourced from Tasmania, and certified sustainable by the Global Aquaculture Alliance. 

About 57% (by weight) of the fish sold in our seafood counters has been assessed against sustainability criteria, which are aligned with the Marine Stewardship Council’s criteria. These science-based assessments guide our sourcing decisions based on sustainability criteria.



Freezer section

The following frozen products are MSC certified:

  • Select Battered fish fillet - 400g
  • Select Crumbed fish fillets - 400g and 1kg packs
  • Select Fish Fingers - 400g and 1kg packs
  • Select Garlic and herb crumbed fish fillets - 400g
  • Select Lemon pepper crumbed fish fillets - 400g
  • Select Hoki portions - 500g

                       Look for this sign on the pack/content/Image/MSC.png

Canned fish

All Woolworths brand tuna are sourced from fisheries that do not use harmful methods such as fish aggregating devices (FADs). 

A fish aggregating device is a man-made object used by fisherman to attract fish as tuna. They usually consist of buoys or floats that provide interest and attract the fish to the device and make it easier to harvest a larger quantity in one place.

The main concerns with the use of aggregating devices are that they can also attract juvenile fish and other endangered animals, such as turtles, which are then taken up along with the targeted species — a consequence known as 'bycatch'. Removing the FADs can significantly reduce the bycatch of turtles, sharks, dolphins and juvenile tuna.

Our Select canned tuna range is all ‘pole and line’ caught and our Homebrand canned tuna is fished without the use of fish aggregating devices.

Our Select canned Pink Salmon and Red Salmon range is all MSC certified.

Supporting our suppliers

We are committed to supporting our suppliers who actively pursue sustainable fishing practices. We recognise that certification takes time and resources and we will work with our suppliers to achieve this goal.

Where appropriate, we have co-invested for sustainability improvements and certification of fisheries supplying our products.

In support of our suppliers we have provided: 

  • $25,000 grant to Northern Prawn Fishery for MSC certification.
  • $10,000 to CSIRO and South East Trawl Fishery Industry Association (SETFIA) for research on the status of orange roughy.
  • $80,000 invested in research with Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery to improve the sustainability of the catch methods for the popular gummy shark (flake) product to the Australian consumer.

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