Seafood has a high demand in Australia, and the demand is not just for its culinary value but for its environmental impact as well, according to a new report.
In Australia, fish and shellfish demand grew by over 20 per cent in the past decade, according the report by Seafood Watch Australia.
In 2017, the country exported about 6.5 million tonnes of seafood.
The report predicts a demand of about 5.7 million tonnes in 2020, an increase of about 3 per cent on the year.
Seafood prices are expected to increase as demand increases, with the report forecasting a 6 per cent increase in prices.
Seafarers and other Australians are being encouraged to eat more fish, but are being warned to do so responsibly.
Seafers are also being encouraged not to cook the fish, as it can cause cancer, heart disease, and can cause allergies and asthma.
The Seafood Australia report recommends people try to eat seafood at least once a week.
“There is a real opportunity for us to drive a lot more of that demand,” Seafoodwatch Australia chief executive officer, John O’Sullivan, said.
Seafarer advocates say the report highlights the urgent need for Australians to make healthy choices.
“I think a lot of people will start eating more fish once they have an understanding of the impact that it’s having on our environment,” Mr O’Shanahan said.
“It’s also the first time we’ve seen the number of people we’ve interviewed that were concerned about the health impact of fish consumption, and actually the health impacts of our consumption of fish.”
The report recommends Australians stop eating fish and seafood altogether, or cook their fish in a water filter before consuming it.
“We’re really worried about the environmental impacts of what’s going on, and we’re just going to have to get on with it,” Seafirsty founder, Tony Wilson, said, according a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“The environmental impact is going to be really serious, and I’m just hoping we’re doing the right thing, which is to stop consuming it.”
Mr Wilson said he had never had an allergic reaction to fish, and he was surprised at how well the seafood industry was responding to the report.
“If you were to eat an oyster or any other seafood, you’re going to get a lot from it, you are going to put a lot into it, it’s going to absorb a lot, and that’s all good,” he said.
Mr Wilson also said he was concerned about how far seafood would be allowed to be consumed in Australia.
“One thing we’ve really seen with the seafood, as I said, is it’s a really controversial issue,” he added.
The study found that the food industry was “extremely concerned” about seafood being used in cosmetics and food processing.
Seafirstry has also launched an awareness campaign to inform people about the harmful impacts of the trade.
“When we start getting people to think about this and talk about it, and do the research and do that, it’ll be very, very important to them,” Mr Wilson told News.