The new Federal Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie, admits after only a few days in the job she’s still getting her head around the breadth of her portfolio.
Meeting with fishermen from the Lakes Entrance Fishermen’s Cooperative, she said concerns were raised about the correct labeling of seafood back to its origins so consumers know what they are buying.
Senator McKenzie said when you go into the supermarket you are aware when buying seafood where it is sourced from.
“It’s provenance and origins are known to you,” she said.
However, the Minister said that the same couldn’t be said when purchasing a piece of whiting from a fish and chip shop or a local restaurant as to where that piece of fish originated from.
Senator McKenzie said the labeling of seafood was important because “people want to know that they’re purchasing a product that is sustainable, clean and green”.
She says Australia’s fisheries are scientifically one of the best managed in the world.
Australian seafood industry stakeholders have called for mandatory seafood origin information to be provided to consumers to better inform purchasing and ‘level the playing field’ for local and overseas seafood producers.
They believe there is value to their business in promoting the origin of their seafood.
The Australian Government convened a working group to investigate options for improving consumer access to seafood origin back in 2016.
The findings of that investigation were presented in a report, entitled ‘Seafood Origin Working Group Paper’ in June 2017, but the Post understands the government is yet to act on them.