April 27, 2021
Australis Aquaculture achieves certification to expand community programmes in Vietnam
Australis Aquaculture has announced that it has achieved the Fair Trade Certification and will commit 100% of its barramundi (Asian sea bass) sales to the programme.
The company is the world's first barramundi farmer and Asia's first aquaculture finfish producer to received the certification, the company said. The initiative will support the expansion of Australis' community-focused programmes in Vietnam.
"We are excited to make this commitment during a period of rapid growth," said Josh Goldman, chief executive officer and co-founder of Australis Aquaculture. "We began pursuing certification two years ago, and while the process was delayed by COVID, we're thrilled to launch Fair Trade Certified barramundi (on April 26) on the heels of our recent ASC Certification."
The Fair Trade Certified seal will be carried on all Australis' The Better Fish barramundi sold in over 6,000 retail locations in the United States and on branded foodservice products, as well as on Clean Harvest barramundi in international markets beginning this summer.
Fair Trade USA is uniquely positioned to provide industry and consumers with holistic choices in sourcing responsibly produced seafood through its comprehensive assessment of social, environmental and economic impacts across the supply chain.
The model supports sustainable livelihoods by empowering fishers and farmers to improve their lives and their communities. Australis' participation in the programme will create a revenue stream from each pound of Fair Trade Certified barramundi sold that will be available to over 300 workers and their communities in central Vietnam.
"Consumers associate The Better Fish with better farming practices, so becoming one of the first national seafood brands to become Fair Trade Certified builds on this and empowers our people to realise their aspirations for improving their communities," said Goldman. "Barramundi is on fire with awareness growing faster than any other white fish and a 70% increase in retail sales being reported in 2020."
Australis has been ocean farming and processing barramundi in central Vietnam since 2007, and has been consistently recognised by the Vietnamese government for its outstanding contributions to the social and economic development of the province.
One initiative has involved organising monthly coastal clean-up events, known as Green Day to improve public beachfront and raise awareness for environmental stewardship in the community. Since its inception, over 80,000 pounds of trash has been collected, with over 2000 volunteers.
"We're thrilled to see Australis going all the way with its commitment to fair trade and the livelihoods of its employees in Vietnam," said Blake Stok, senior programme and partnership manager (seafood) at Fair Trade USA. "Today, more than three billion people depend on seafood as their primary protein source. With population growth, the shift to aquaculture has become increasingly important and now supplies more than half of the world's seafood.
"Our new aquaculture programme brings protections and benefits to producers of cultured seafood and promotes socially responsible growth in the industry through partnerships with intentional producers like Australis."
As is the case with other Fair Trade Certified product categories such as coffee, tea, cocoa, produce, apparel and coconut, fair trade seafood certification requires producers to meets rigorous, independently audited standards.
"Our vision for a "Better Fish, Better World" is about supporting people with sound nutrition, knowledge and the opportunity to accomplish amazing things," said Julie Qiu, Australis' director of marketing. "Not only will the Fair Trade USA programme give back to our workers and community, we'll also demonstrate to our customers how their purchases are contributing to improving the lives of their barramundi farmers."