South Australia’s fishing industry leaders are asking consumers to get hooked on local, seasonal seafood in the same way they have embraced in-season fruit and vegetables.
Tom Cosentino from community-supported fishery Fair Fish says buying seasonal seafood not only guarantees freshness and great flavour but also supports local fishermen and keeps our industry sustainable.
“Buying seasonal makes so much sense,” Cosentino says. “For a start, seasonal fish is cheaper. If you’ve ever had a garden or if you’ve ever had farmers in the family, you see the abundance during peak seasons.
“It just makes no sense to say, ‘I’m going to ignore what’s in season and I’m going to go with (fish) that’s expensive and harder to find instead.’”
Cosentino manages Fair Fish on behalf of the state’s peak fishing industry body, Wildcatch Fisheries. The community-based website and app allows seafood lovers to order fresh, seasonal, wild-caught fish from local fishers.
“The process is simple: our local fishers catch the fish on any given day of the week, pack their seasonal catch into blue tubs and send it straight to a Port Adelaide depot so it’s accessible within hours,” he says.
Fair Fish also supports sustainability by creating new markets for by-catch (or secondary catch), which was traditionally released or sold as bait.
“Every share a consumer buys includes a popular species of fish and a secondary species (or by-catch) for something different to try, along with an information brochure, species fact card, and suggested recipes,” Cosentino says.
Fair Fish aims to shine a spotlight on SA’s fishermen who catch the seasonal seafood we enjoy – producers such as Bart Butson from Port Wakefield.
“Bart is the pinnacle of good fishermen,” Cosentino says. “He fishes in about two metres of water off a 19-foot wooden boat. His brother and dad are also fishers, and so is his grandfather. Bart fishes with a net and no technology on board other than a GPS and he’s dedicated to sustainable practices because he wants the industry to have a strong future.”
Cosentino says easy access to seasonal, local and sustainable seafood is thanks to SA’s fishing industry, which is among the best managed in the world.
“We fish with gear restrictions, we fish with quota restrictions and I’ve been present many times when fishers have volunteered to reduce their quota for the betterment of the fish stock.
“We’re always trying to get better as an industry,” he says.
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