Aussie food retailers are being urged to stock up on fresh fish and shellfish amid rising concerns about the threat posed by climate change.
The new food guidelines from the Australian Food Standards Agency come as the federal government prepares to release a national food plan for next year, which will include a major overhaul of Australia’s seafood industry.
They also come amid a new focus on the sustainability of the nation’s fish and seafood industries, after the Turnbull government pledged to tackle the issue of overfishing in an election manifesto.
Catching the next fish or shellfish Australian fish stocks are expected to decline by more than 10 per cent in the next 20 years due to climate change and the spread of invasive species, according to the Food Standards Australia.
The industry is already struggling with a lack of new catches, which have been reduced by a third over the past decade.
New fish stocks will be hit harder, according the new guidelines, with less than 10 percent of Australian fish being harvested by 2020.
Australia is not alone in facing a global food security crisis, with the United States and China both facing increasing food shortages.
However, the government has pledged to spend up to $200 billion on climate-proofing, fisheries conservation and conservation of coastal areas, which could help the country secure more fresh fish, shellfish and fruit.
“The Australian seafood industry is in serious danger,” the Food Safety and Standards Authority of Australia said in a statement.
It said Australia’s fish stocks were vulnerable to overfished by overfishers, including from a rise in the number of introduced species.
Australians need to start planning ahead for the future, rather than waiting for the worst to happen, the agency said.
Fishing is also expected to see the biggest decline, with some 40 per cent of Australian catch to be replaced by fish from foreign fish, which are often more costly.
The Food Standards Authority said it had warned the public about the impact of over-fishing.
This includes concerns about overfishment and overfishery, including the potential for the exploitation of marine resources, the organisation said.
A recent survey by the Australian Conservation Foundation found that many people were not aware of the impact on Australia’s fisheries and that the industry was at risk of losing $100 billion a year.
ABC/AAPTopics:environmental-impact,environmental,environment-policy,food-and-cooking,food,people,human-interest,environment,federal—state-issues,fisheries,government-and.govt-office,australiaFirst posted January 21, 2021 08:04:20Contact Sarah AinsworthMore stories from New South Wales