Australians have always had a close association with the sea as a source of food, entertainment and for social and cultural linkages. In this respect, we are fortunate in having possibly the greatest variety of seafood available anywhere. Australian seafood is second-to-none in quality and is enjoyed by millions of people both locally and overseas.
Australia’s maritime zone is one of the largest in the world, covering about 14 million square kilometres: about twice the area of Australia’s landmass. It has a diverse range of freshwater and marine habitats that support over 5000 native species of finfish, and many more crustaceans and molluscs (and perhaps tens of thousands of invertebrate species) — most in relatively small numbers. More than 600 seafood species are commercially harvested and sold in Australia for local and overseas consumption.
Over the past 15 years the FRDC and its partners, in particular CSIRO have put in a concerted effort to catalogue more than a century of research by Australian scientists and ichthyologists.
One of the most significant developments has been the development of the Fish Names Standard. 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. This culminated with the development and endorsement of the Australian Fish Names Standard AS SSA 5300 by Standards Australia in 2007.
Visit the online Fish Names Database or find more information on the Standard by going to http://seafoodstandards.com.au/fish-names/Pages/default.aspx.
Another development has been the development of FishMap. FishMap is a free online mapping tool that allows anyone interested in fish to discover which fish species occur at any location or depth throughout the marine waters of Australia's continental shelf and slope. For more information on FishMap visit its website at fish.ala.org.au/