Back to FISH Vol 29 3
PUBLISHED 14 Sep 2021

New nutritional information on popular seafood species will help fishers market their catch and help consumers understand the benefits of their seafood selections as part of a healthy diet

By Catherine Norwood


The bank of detailed nutritional information about Australia’s many seafood species continues to grow, with analyses of 25 fish and three crustaceans added to the available data.

Senior food scientist at Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Andrew Forrest has led the project for the FRDC. The new data brings the total number of commercial wildcatch species with detailed nutritional profiles to 41.

Previous research has provided a fat analysis of 250 species of Australian seafood, including levels of the valued healthy omega-3 fatty acids. However, more detailed analysis that includes information about minerals and vitamins is required for nutritional information panels.

Forrest says the new data will help remove a barrier to retail markets and could help increase consumption of seafood in Australia by allowing more products to be offered in pre-prepared consumer-ready portions, complete with the required nutritional panels.

These panels are essential to labelling requirements under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, when seafood is packaged for retail sale.

“If Australia’s consumption of seafood was to increase, there would be improved health outcomes for consumers as well as a growth in the domestic market,” says Forrest.

Expanded analysis

Forrest says the species initially identified for analysis changed as the project rolled out in consultation with industry, adapting to seasonal availability and priority catches. Three prawn species were added at the request of industry, and there was strong interest in profiles for many other species that the existing project was unable to take on.

For fishers or retailers keen to provide the basic nutritional information, Forrest says the costs of the required testing are in the order of $300 for a single species. However, the FRDC project tested for a much larger range of nutritional elements, beyond those required for basic compliance.


Table 1: Species sourced for nutritional profiling.

Fish species

Scientific name

Fish species

Scientific name


Thunnus alalunga

Australian Sardine

Sardinops sagax


Seriola dumerili

Sea Mullet

Mugil cephalus

Barcheek Coral Trout

Plectropomus maculatus


Chrysophrys auratus

Barramundi (wild)

Lates calcarifer

Spanish Mackerel

Scomberomorus commerson

Bight Redfish

Centroberyx gerrardi

Spotted Mackerel

Scomberomorus munroi

Crimson Snapper

Lutjanus erythropterus


Xiphias gladius

Dusky Flathead

Platycephalus fuscus


Pomatomus saltatrix

Eastern School Whiting

Sillago flindersi

West Australian Dhufish

Glaucosoma hebraicum

Goldband Snapper

Pristipomoides multidens

West Australian Salmon

Arripis truttaceus

King Threadfin

Polydactylus macrochir

Yellowfin Bream

Acanthopagrus australis


Girella tricuspidata

Prawn species


Patagonian Toothfish

Dissostichus eleginoides

Banana prawn

Penaeus merguiensis

Red Emperor

Lutjanus sebae

Blue Endeavour Prawn

Metapenaeus endeavouri

Redthroat Emperor

Lethrinus miniatus

Brown Tiger Prawn

Penaeus esculentus

Saddletail Snapper

Lutjanus malabaricus




“These extra components are considered as general health claims under the Food Standards Code, as opposed to basic nutrition information,” he explains. “An example would be zinc content. Zinc is not required for a nutrition information panel, but it can be added, and this would be considered a general health claim. Other examples of general health claims would be reporting of vitamin E content, or omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid content.”

He says the analysis confirmed Australian seafood as a high-quality source of protein, with other health-supporting components. Many species had similar nutritional profiles, although not similar enough for a common nutritional labelling. The greatest variation was in fat content – the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

For those keen to develop nutritional panels for packaged seafood products, the (now closed) Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre (ASCRC) published Industry Guidelines for Seafood Health and Nutrition Messages to work through the process.

The FRDC’s Fishfiles website ( currently provides a central repository for nutritional data and consumer information, as a companion to the Status of Australian Fish Stocks Reports (SAFS) ( This includes nutritional profiles for 21 species previously developed by the ASCRC.

Forrest sees the growing database of nutritional information as a valuable resource for the sector as a whole. However, he points out that SAFS identifies 148 species as commercially important in Australian fisheries, which leaves many species still to be profiled.

The latest nutritional profiles are available on the FRDC website at f



R&D Plan Outcome 5
Community trust, respect and value

More information
Andrew Forrest,

FRDC Research Codes
1994-136, ASCRC 2008-905, 2017-145