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Making waves: Australia's path towards seafood transparency in the hospitality industry

In an era of the conscious consumer, there is a growing demand for transparency on where our seafood comes from. Until now, Australian hospitality venues have lacked consistent country-of-origin information which can support transparency in the seafood supply chain. With over 60% of seafood consumed in Australia being imported, this type of information is imperative to enabling informed decision-making. This week, Federal government passed a major change introducing mandatory country of origin labelling (CoOL) for seafood in hospitality venues. This landmark decision follows the allocation of $1.6 million in funding to the expansion of Australia’s country of origin labelling rules. Given the overwhelming support for the vote’s outcome, it is set to bring large benefits for Australian seafood producers and consumers.

Country of Origin Labelling: what’s so important?

CoOL plays a crucial role in ensuring transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain. It provides consumers with crucial information on where their food comes from, allowing them to make more informed choices about the products they purchase. Without this information, the choice is effectively taken away from the consumer.

In the context of seafood, CoOL is vital due to the global nature of the seafood industry. In the absence of CoOL, consumers may unwittingly purchase seafood sourced through unsustainable fishing practices or unknowingly consume products which have traversed the globe before landing on their plate. Proper labelling not only assists consumers in making ethical and sustainable choices but it is also helps prevent seafood fraud and mislabelling; two issues which are prevalent throughout the global seafood market.

What changes are being introduced in Australia?

Following this week’s unanimous vote, the Australian-Imported-Mixed (AIM) model will be introduced as part of the new CoOL rules. Under this model, hospitality businesses (restaurants, cafés, and clubs) will need to disclose the origin of the seafood on their menus using the following code:

This model offers a practical and cost-effective solution to CoOL which serves to inform consumers whilst minimising the impact on businesses. These changes won’t be introduced until 2025 to allow for a sufficient transition period during which the hospitality and seafood sector can adjust to the new requirements. The regulated approach to CoOL will ensure that labelling is thorough and consistent across the board, as well as being accessible to consumers of all socio-economic backgrounds.

What are the benefits of the new rules?

  1. Informed choices: with country of origin information readily available, consumers can make choices that align with their values, whether it be supporting local fisheries, avoiding regions with unsustainable fishing practices, or selecting products from countries with best practice management regimes.

  2. Support for local seafood producers: CoOL will empower consumers to choose Australian seafood products over imported ones. In doing so, it provides a competitive edge for domestic seafood production.

  3. Quality assurance: knowing the origin of seafood allows consumers to make informed judgments about the quality of a product.

  4. Consumer trust: the transparency achieved through CoOL helps to facilitate trust building between consumers and hospitality businesses.

  5. Marketing opportunities: businesses can use CoOL as a marketing tool. By identifying the country of origin, it demonstrates a commitment to ethical sourcing and environmental responsibility. In doing so, businesses can appeal to a growing market of conscious consumers.

At Blueshift Consulting, we offer a range of capabilities aimed at enhancing transparency in the seafood industry. Leveraging our deep understanding of this industry, Blueshift provides tailored solutions to help businesses navigate the complexities of supply chain transparency. If you are interested in learning more about how we can assist the transparency of your operations, please reach out to us via our website or by emailing

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