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Our Planet

Sustainable Seafood

What is Sustainable Seafood?

Sustainable seafood comes from fisheries or aquaculture operations that do not threaten the survival of wild fish populations, damage the environment or incidentally have a negative impact on other species or habitats. 

This means ensuring that aquatic ecosystems thrive alongside well-managed fisheries or farms, and that fish are caught or farmed using best practice methods that reduce impacts on other wildlife, particularly threatened, endangered and protected species or wildlife habitats such as coral reefs and mangroves.


Why is sustainable seafood important to us?

The importance of seafood on a global scale from an economic, social and environmental perspective is clear. Fisheries and aquaculture contribute $US100 billion per year and about 260 million jobs to the global economy. Seafood is one of the most important sources of animal protein globally, accounting for about 17% of protein at the global level and exceeding 50% in many least-developed countries.

Our oceans are under immense pressure due to issues such as; 

  • Wild fish stocks being fished at increasingly unsustainable levels
  • Illegal, Unregulated or Unreported (IUU) Fishing
  • High levels of unintended catch of non-target species a.k.a. “Bycatch”, which can include threatened and endangered wildlife like turtles and dugongs
  • Plastic pollution and climate change

With global fish consumption expected to rise by 20% by 2030, this pressure will only continue to build. A priority must be placed on fishing more sustainably if we are going to avoid further decline in fish stocks and harm to the marine environment. Responsible aquaculture will also need to play a bigger part in meeting future demand. 

Woolworths is committed to supporting seafood producers, locally and globally, who are making meaningful progress towards more sustainable practices that will protect our oceans and fish stocks for future generations.

Similarly, by making a conscious choice to buy and eat only sustainable seafood, our customers can continue to enjoy seafood while contributing to the long term health of our oceans. Choosing sustainable seafood not only preserves our oceans but also supports those fisheries operating sustainably and encourages others to do so. 


Our commitment

We commit to sourcing our seafood from sources that are third-party certified or independently verified as environmentally responsible.

Wild-caught seafood

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

The MSC is a global, non-profit organization which works with business and NGO partners to improve the health of the world’s oceans by transforming seafood markets towards sustainability. The MSC uses an ecolabel and a fishery certification program to recognise and reward sustainable fishing practices, and to influence the choices business and consumers make when buying seafood.

Farmed seafood

For farmed seafood, our aim is to have all products third-party certified. The certification schemes currently recognised by Woolworths are:

  • The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)
  • Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) - minimum 2-star level
  • GLOBALG.A.P.

 

 

Woolworths and WWF-Australia

 

Woolworths recognises WWF as one of the world’s most trusted and recognised brands, Australia’s most trusted environmental organisation and leading authorities on seafood and marine sustainability. Because of this, WWF is well placed to advise Woolworths and help engage all involved in the seafood sourcing industry - including fishers, fish farmers, suppliers, scientists, government, other conservation organisations and customers - to encourage positive change.

Woolworths and WWF-Australia established a partnership in 2018 and through this WWF will provide us with technical advice on the sustainability of Woolworths’ seafood supply chain, as well as strategic recommendations to transition Woolworths’ seafood supply chain to more sustainable sources. More specifically WWF-Australia will: 

  • provide advice on Woolworths sustainable seafood policies, 
  • coordinate assessments of Woolworths’ seafood sources using WWF’s Ecological Sustainability Evaluation of Seafood (ESES) methodology
  • Based on the outcome of the assessments, provide recommendations to help Woolworths source seafood more sustainably
  • support the implementation of projects to improve the sustainability of fisheries and farms from which we source seafood
  • support Woolworths’ labelling initiatives and traceability pilots and case studies 
  • provide support to Woolworths’ supplier engagement regarding sustainable sourcing

 

 

Left to right: Alex Holt, Woolworths General Manager Quality, Health & Sustainability, Dermot O'Gorman WWF-Australia CEO, Serena Anson-Cope, Woolworths Seafood Merchandise Manager

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