Using Standard Fish Names
The Standard specifies that:
- fish sold to consumers (e.g. retail sales and restaurants) must be identified by their standard fish name
- fish sold other than directly to consumers (e.g. wholesale, export, import must be identified by their standard fish name or scientific name.
Need for Standard Fish Names
Public and consumer confidence is supremely important to the wellbeing of Australia’s $4 billion seafood industry. Standard fish names:
- remove confusion
- strengthen consumer confidence
- create market efficiency
- underpin effective species-based fisheries management, and
- improve management of food safety
Australia has over 5000 native species of finfish, and many more crustaceans and molluscs. Several hundred of these species are important commercially, and many others support recreational activities such as fishing and diving. Australia also imports seafood products consisting of many other fish species from around the world to help satisfy the increasing demand for seafood.
Confusion over fish names has been caused by the numerous species Australia has on offer, a species being known by more than one name, or the same name being used for more than one species. As early as the 1920s, meetings were held in Sydney to discuss fish names as the local and regional variations were becoming apparent.
Extensive work on standardizing names used for fish in Australia has been undertaken since the early 1980s by industry, governments, scientists and other stakeholders. Major progress has been made since 1992 as a result of strategic investments by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. Seafood Services Australia (SSA) accepted responsibility for standardizing fish names in 2001 and continued to maintain this momentum. SSA was accredited as a standards setting body in 2006 and subsequently developed the first version of this standard. SSA ceased operations in 2013.
Purpose of this Standard
Use of standard fish names in Australia, as defined in this Standard, achieves outcomes that are consistent with the aims of industry and governments, including:
- Improved monitoring and stock assessment enhances the sustainability of fisheries resources;
- Increased efficiency in seafood marketing improves consumer confidence and industry profitability;
- Improved accuracy in trade descriptions enables consumers to make more informed choices when purchasing seafood and reduces the potential for misleading and deceptive conduct;
- More efficient management of seafood related public health incidents and food safety through improved labelling and species identification reduces public health risk and facilitates efficient product recall arrangements;
- Enhanced marketability and consumer acceptability of the standard fish names used for a species eliminating misleading and deceptive conduct.
Preparation of this Standard
FRDC is accredited by the Australian Board of Standards Development Organisations (ABSDO) as a Standards Development Organisation. This Standard was prepared by FRDC’s Fish Names Committee (FNC) in accordance with requirements set down for developing Australian Standards. The Standard is the result of a consensus among a wide range of stakeholders and an extensive process of consultation with the Fish Names Experts, end users, and the general public.