South Australian seafood company Ferguson Australia is the first in the world to achieve the prestigious international ‘Friend of the Sea’ (FoS) certification for sustainable fishing practices for six wild caught local fish species.

The family business’ world-first certification covers Giant Crab, Southern Garfish, King George Whiting, Gummy Shark, Ocean Jacket and Flathead species while it also became the first and only fishery in Australia to gain sustainability certification for Southern Rock Lobster.

“We’re enormously honoured to be the first company in the world to achieve sustainable certification for these species – and particularly delighted to lead the way locally when it comes to our prized Southern Rock Lobster,” Ferguson Australia’s Export and Marketing Manager, Eliza Ferguson said.

“The certification supports the sustainable fishing practices of some 100 South Australian fishing families from the Great Australian Bight through to Port MacDonnell in the state’s South East and takes in the waters off Port Lincoln, Kangaroo Island and Yorke Peninsula.

“This achievement certainly vindicates our longstanding commitment, as a third-generation family company, to best fishing practices, the environment, sustainability and product excellence.”

Fos is an international not-for-profit non-governmental organisation whose mission is to safeguard the marine environment and implement specific protection and conservation projects.

Accreditation recognises seafood companies that have sustainable harvesting practices in wild and aquaculture fisheries, with the audit process assessing the fishing methods, ecosystem impact and the management of the fisheries within a maximum sustainable harvest quota.

It ensures that certified aquaculture farms produce fish without the use of growth hormones and respect water parameters and critical habitats, whilst also ensuring high quality standards in terms of energy efficiency and social accountability.

Ms Ferguson thanked the Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Hon. Leon Bignell MP for a $13,500 grant – under the ‘Building South Australia’s Premium Food and Wine Credentials Grant Program – that assisted with the certification auditing process.

She also applauded the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) for its assistance in providing the necessary data and information.

PIRSA’s Director Agriculture, Food and Wine, Justin Ross, congratulated Ferguson Australia on achieving FoS certification, hailing it “an outstanding outcome that will boost the credibility of the company’s premium seafood products now that it is formally recognised globally as sourcing seafood products sustainably.”

“It also demonstrates the huge successes that emerge from such an important grant program that was tailored through extensive consultation with industry to meet their needs,” Mr Ross said.

Ferguson Australia’s frozen fish range with FoS accreditation is available in South Australian supermarkets such as Foodland and IGA outlets, as well as nationally at selected specialist retailers.

Ferguson Australia is a third generation family-owned and operated seafood company passionate about Australian seafood, supporting local producers and promoting Australian seafood around the world.

The family’s extensive fishing history, commitment to marine research and sustainable fishing practices has assisted in the business being recognised as a leader in the Australian commercial fishing industry.

It has also gained international recognition as an award-winning and innovative seafood processor and exporter.

For more information, visit the Ferguson Australia website.