A Forum for Better Dialogue

The Common Language Group (CLG): developing consensus positions on a range of important issues affecting the seafood supply chain.

FRDC Director, Dr Patrick Hone, stated "We haven't communicated well in laymen's terms. All sectors of the community do not fully appreciate the science of the issues. The Australian seafood industry has to have a common language discussion."

The aim of the CLG is to use factual information to reach a minimum baseline understanding of the principles underpinning a responsible seafood supply chain. This helps to ensure all stakeholders have a broad knowledge of the issues. Items for discussion will include issues which are contentious in the fishing and aquaculture sectors such as:
  • The credibility of information, both from the scientific community and elsewhere
  • The need for clear information on sourcing responsibly, both domestically and internationally
  • Misinformation on stocks status
  • Terms requiring a clearer understanding eg fully fished, over fished.  
Background to the Common Language Group

Issue Paper: Defining Australian Sustainable Seafood - Wild Capture Fisheries

The first topic of the CLG focused on is the sustainability of commercial Australian wild-caught seafood - for more information

Draft Paper

Definitions of sustainability range from narrow and precise interpretations to broader, less specific definitions. Government definitions of the terms sustainable development, sustainable fishing‘ and sustainable use are helpful in considering the meaning of sustainable seafood. Other institutions in society may not require formal definitions so can be flexible on how they interpret sustainability and more open to meet and address their member‘s interests and corporate mission statements. Stakeholders other than governments have different definitions of seafood sustainability and management, according to their own missions, priorities and campaigns or promotions.

Within the scope defined, the group developed Issues Paper 1 (Defining Sustainable Australian Seafood: Wild-Capture Fisheries), and made a public call for feedback on it and a set of structured questions. Based on the Issues Paper and the 31 responses from key environmental NGO’s, other organisations and individuals across the seafood supply chain (e.g. fisheries managers; recreational, traditional and commercial fishers; seafood wholesale and retail suppliers, and consumers), the present document develops draft definitions1 for sustainable seafood for wild capture fisheries. It considers expert opinion and stakeholder views, including areas where there is broad agreement and those where views diverge.  

Final Paper

The Common Language Group has now completed the paper titled Common Language for Sustainable Wild Caught Seafood.

This paper, while technical in nature begins to form the basis of a common language around the term sustainability for wild caught seafood. Through the issue paper and responses, survey responses and custodian group meetings it has been identified that there are five ecological and biological elements that help to define sustainable wild caught seafood, these are; retained species, bycatch species, habitats, ecosystem and foodwebs and protected species. The paper defines these elements using both a common language definition and a technical definition. It then identifies a number of components that make up each of the five elements and defines each of these in the same way; with a common language and technical definition.
Downloaded here the issues paper paper Common Language for Sustainable Wild Caught Seafood.


Open Forum Meeting - Defining Australian Sustainable Seafood - Wild Capture Fisheries 

The Common Language Group is holding an open forum on the sustainable wild caught seafood paper. The aim of the open forum will be to discuss and seek feedback on the paper. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture Senator Richard Colbeck will open the public forum.

Forum Details:

Date: 21 November
Venue: Doltone house on the Jones Bay Wharf – Sydney.
Time: 10am – 12pm (welcome tea and coffee from 9.30 am)
RSVP: CLG@frdc.com.au 


Custodian Group

A Custodian Group assists to identify issues representing Recreational, Aquaculture, Researchers, Retail, Post harvest, Fisheries Managers and Extension and Consumers.  Issues can then be forwarded to working groups to prepare draft position papers which would then be discussed in Open CLG meetings and then be publicly available.  

Open CLG meetings are advertised on this website and by emails sent out to the FRDC subscriber database.  The Open CLG meetings will be held in various locations around Australia and advertised prior to the meetings.   Anyone with an interest in the issue being discussed is welcome to attend and participate.

The role of the Custodian Group is to help facilitate the Common Language Group and issues being discussed. The membership (outlined below) consists of a core group and is added to as the issues progress to allow for expertise in related issues to join as needed.

CHAIR:  Meryl Williams  

SECRETARIAT:  Joshua Fielding

Jo-anne McCrea, WWF
National Seafood Industry Alliance (NSIA)
Grahame Turk/Johnathon Davey
RecFish Australia
Russell Conway
National Aquaculture Council (NAC)
Pheroze Jungalwalla
Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)
Patrick Hone/Josh Fielding
Research Providers Network
Ilona Stobutzki
Rob Cumine
Natalie Mathews
Post harvest
Sydney Fish Market
Bryan Skepper/Sevaly Sen
Fisheries managers
Australian Fisheries Management Forum
Doug Ferrell
Food Focus Australia
Michelle Christoe
Independent retailers
De Costi Seafoods
Anthony Mercer
Consumer group
Angela McDougal
Seafood Importers Association
Norm Grant
Indigenous Fishing
Indigenous Reference Group
Chris Calogeras
For further information contact ​Joshua Fielding.

Key documents.

Custodian Group Minutes