Seafood sustainability award winners announced

By Nichola Murphy
Wednesday, 27 September, 2017

The winners of the annual Wave of Change awards have been announced by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Oceania, featuring companies such as Coles and John West.

MSC aims to safeguard seafood supplies and reward sustainable fishing practices, and since 2000, its certified fisheries have successfully delivered over 1200 improvements to fishing practices. The MSC Oceania Wave of Change awards celebrate those that promote sustainability in the seafood sector in Australia and New Zealand. The nominated companies were scored on three criteria: impact on the market, leadership and communication.

Firstly, Coles took home the MSC Oceania Supermarket of the Year award for its efforts to source MSC seafood for its canned, frozen and deli counter products in over 700 stores.

Anne Gabriel, MSC Oceania Program Director, praised Coles for its contribution to sustainability, stating: “In 2015, Coles were the first supermarket in Australia to obtain MSC traceability certification for seafood deli counters and have continued to drive the conversation on sustainable seafood in the industry, creating a ripple effect through the supply chain.”

The MSC Oceania Brand of the Year award went to Simplot for John West Tuna for sourcing its canned tuna products from MSC certified fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific. The income from sustainable tuna fishing in this region helps support the local economies and fishing culture. The company’s contribution to a more sustainable seafood sector has already been recognised by two Banksia Sustainability Awards for the Our Oceans Forever awareness campaign on their partnership with MSC and WWF. Not only does John West currently provide 43% of the Australian canned tuna market, but it also plans to make 60% of the total shelf seafood range MSC certified by 2018.

New Zealand-based Sealord won the MSC Oceania New Product of the Year award for its Hoki fries that addressed consumer demand for sharing food. The New Zealand hoki fishery has been MSC certified since 2001, and Sealord Marketing Manager Melissa Butler suggested sustainability was part of the appeal. She said: “Consumers can feel good about eating a range made from sustainably caught New Zealand Hoki.”

Other companies that were celebrated by MSC included: Taronga Zoo Seal show was awarded the MSC Oceania Best Public Engagement award as it promotes choosing sustainable seafood to leave some for other animals to eat; SEA LIFE Trust received the MSC Oceania Ocean Futures award for the Ocean Youths Program empowering young ocean leaders to learn about ocean issues; and Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Fisheries Division’s Mandurah Crab Fest 2017 won the MSC Oceania Best Community Outreach award for connecting the community with the crab species.

“These Wave of Change Awards celebrate partners that are forging ahead on sustainability commitments and creating positive change through the industry. From empowering young leaders like SEA LIFE Trust and Taronga Zoo, to John West completely overhauling its supply chains to offer the largest range of MSC certified tuna in Australia, these organisations should be proud to say they are looking out for the future of our oceans and contributing to the 1200 impacts on the water MSC,” said Gabriel.

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