Published: 12 May 2022 Updated: 4 July 2024
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The Australian Aquatic Plant Names Standard AS 5301-2020 is funded by the FRDC and can be purchased through the SAI Global Infostore

About Aquatic Plant Names

The Australian Standard for Aquatic Plant Names AS 5301:

  • a voluntary Standard, to be utilised as an Australian industry best practice guide throughout the whole supply chain from primary producer (wild harvest or aquaculture), through to importer, exporters, retailers and restaurants, including any other direct and indirect affiliations.
  • accepted and published its first official Australian Standard in 2020;
  • specifies one Standard Aquatic Plant Name for an individual species or group of species;
  • includes over 50 Standard Aquatic Plant Names;
  • as an Australian Standard, it is independently audited annually to ensure compliance to meet Standard Australia requirements, along with the approved policies and procedures;
  • is managed and continually developed by the Aquatic Plant Names Committee;
    the online searchable Aquatic Plant Names Database has the most up-to-date information on all approved group and individual species names;
  • Aquatic Plant Names Database can be downloaded;
  • The Australian Standard for Aquatic Plant Names (AS 5301) - a voluntary standard is available for viewing at no cost to the user
  • For the purpose of this Standard, aquatic plants are defined as vascular plants, aquatic protists, and photosynthetic prokaryotes that are used commercially as a source of food, therapeutics, derivatives and additives, that naturally require saltwater or freshwater habitats for growth.
  • This is an FRDC Project - 2021-021: The ongoing development, implementation, communication and extension of the Australian Fish Names Standard (AS 5300) and the Australian Aquatic Plant Names Standard (AS 5301) for 2021-2025 is supported by funding from the FRDC on behalf of the Australian Government.

Benefits of the Australian Standard for Aquatic Plants AS 5301

  • Aquatic plants is an emerging industry, therefore there is an opportunity to create stakeholder-accepted names that meet the naming protocols, before it leads to consumer confusion or misleading and deceptive conduct.
  • Supports the use of correct and formally published scientific names only, or provides information on where to get samples tested for species identification
  • Strengthen consumer confidence in what they are buying;
  • Superior management of seafood-related public health incidents and food safety through improved labelling, traceability and species identification, which reduces public health risk and facilitates efficient product recall / withdrawal procedures;
  • Increased efficiency in aquatic plant marketing improves consumer confidence and industry profitability; and
  • Enhanced marketability and consumer acceptability of the standard aquatic plant names used for a species eliminating misleading and deceptive conduct.

Activities of the Aquatic Plant Names Committee

  • To develop and deliver communication and extension plans that increase stakeholder awareness and implementation of the Standard Aquatic Plant Names throughout the supply chain;
  • To enhance stakeholder engagement with the Standard, by ensuring transparency, fairness and honesty throughout the Standard process;
  • To conduct stakeholder analysis to understand:
    • Who uses the Standard and how;
    • Feedback on the (i) application process; (ii) Standard, and (iii) Communication and Extension Plan;
  • To improve the content and relevance of the Standard, as part of continuous improvement;
  • To meet audit requirements to maintain accreditation as an Australian Standard; 
  • To publish an updated version of the Standard approximately every three years;
  • To hold at least two APNC meetings a year.

Background and History of Aquatic Plant Names

In 2017, FRDC noted that an increasing volume of marine plants was being harvested for human consumption and there was little or no agreement on common names to be used.  Then at Seafood Directions in the same year, it was reported that world trade in edible algae is expected to soon be in the order of $5 billion annually. 

FRDC sought input from the Fish Names Committee (FNC), as to how to address the naming of edible algae and other similar species with a possible endpoint of including a category in the Fish Names Standard to cover marine plants that are sold for human consumption. – including commercially important samphire species.  The FNC agreed, that it is an important and rapidly emerging issue, and consideration should be given to developing a list of agreed standard names to be proactive.

FNC made the following observations: 

  • The methodology used to develop the Australian Fish Names Standard, is relevant to this standard. 
  • The naming protocols developed for Australian Fish Names Standard are relevant and still be applicable to aquatic plants.
  • The CAAB database already has broad categories to accommodate aquatic plants, therefore CAAB Codes probably already exist for most of the relevant species. 
  • The candidate names would still go through the approved FRDC standards development procedures. 
  • A standard should be developed for Aquatic Plant Names rather than as an add on to the Fish Names Standard. 

Two workshops were held (Hobart 2018 and Sydney 2019) with a number of key aquatic plant stakeholders participating in to start the formal process of understanding, reviewing and creating relevant next stepsfor; what an Australian Standard is, setting up naming protocols, initial public consultation feedback on the drafted Standard and candidate names, and nominations for the newly structured committee member roles. Post the workshops, FRDC reviewed and approved the committee as per Standard requirements, and the first meeting was set for 12 May 2020 (virtually).

The development of this Standard shall prevent a plethora of unregulated names for the same species from eventuating in the marketplace. This Standard includes names for both marine and freshwater plants but has initially focused on commercial edible marine plants. Further commercial species that fall within the Standard’s definition of aquatic plants shall be added in the future as necessary.


The Committee

The FRDC Board appoints the Aquatic Plant Names Committee (APNC), to ensure the membership has national representation and relevant experience and skills within the aquatic plant community.

The APNC acts independently and with authority, in accordance with the Standard policies and procedures.

Current Aquatic Plant Names Committee membership

*Biographies for each of the voted committee members are available on the Australian Plant Names Committee page.

Clare Winkel Independent Chair 
Dr John Huisman  Deputy Chair and Academia  
Dr Shane Ahyong  CAAB 
Mr James Ashmore  Industry 
Dr Alecia Bellgrove  Academia 
Mr Russell Glover  Industry 
Ms Umar Nguyen Hospitality 
Dr Pia Winberg  Industry 
Observers and non-voting members  
Dr Patrick Hone SDO Representative
Ms Adrianne Laird SDO Representative
Project Manager and Administration  
Mr Gordon (Gus) Yearsley APNC Project Manager


Interested in becoming a member? Download the APNC Membership Nomination Form and submit it to the today


Download the Aquatic Plant Names Database

The Aquatic Plant Names Database can be downloaded as an Excel file.


View the Aquatic Plant Names Standard AS 5301

The Australian Aquatic Plant Names Standard AS 5301 is available for viewing at no cost to the user.



Can't find a species or a Standard Aquatic Plant Name, or do you want to change a current Standard Name?
Download Application Form and submit it to the today

How to submit an application

  1. Confirm the species
    1. If a new species, the APNC requires the species to be formally identified and published in a peer reviewed journal. A copy of the published paper must be attached to your application
    2. If a current species, the APNC requires confidence that it is correct species. You can discuss this with a taxonomist or the APNC Project Manager.
    3. If you are still unsure, speak to your local museum of can test a sample for species identification
  2. Check the Aquatic Plant Names searchable database at the top of this page
    1. Does the species already exist? or
    2. Does the proposed Standard name already exist?
  3. Propose A Standard Name
    1. Only one Standard name can be assigned to a species or a group
    2. Confirm if you are changing a current Standard Name or proposing a new Standard Name
    3. Create or update a Standard Name that is relevant to the species and its attributes
    4. Confirm you are using a Standard Name and not a marketing/brand name (ref resource doc here link – yet to be created.)
  4. Prepare draft application
    1. Read the application thoroughly before completing
    2. Ensure you meet all the protocols
    3. Complete a general search on the proposed name and species/group
    4. Consult with industry for support of the application
    5. Draft application
  5. Compile documentation
    1. all supporting and research documentation are clearly labelled
    2. provide strong support for your application
    3. make reference to any specific protocols
    4. Evidence of stakeholder support for application
    5. Additional evidence to support your application and industry protocols
    6. all supporting and research documentation are clearly labelled
  6. Finalised application
    1. Clearly identify any 'Commercial-in Confidence" information that you have included your application, as this will be excluded for any public comment.
    2. Check application form and ensure all sections are completed and meet the protocols
    3. Complete invoicing section
  7. Submit application with all additional documentation attached


For further information or questions about APNC application, email


Public Consultations

Public consultation is a critical part of the Australian Aquatic Plant Names Standard process and allows the opportunity for all relevant industry sectors and individuals to provide valuable input and feedback on any amendments.  Public consultation MUST be at least 60 days to be valid.

The APNC reviews all feedback from the public consultation, including any emails or communication with stakeholders, before a final decision is made.  The decision is based on whether or not the application meets the Standard protocols, has widespread support and all other information provided.

Applications Open for Public Comment

Public consultation for Application 6

Click here to provide feedback


New APN Standard Open for Comment

  • The Aquatic Plant Names Committee invites you to review a new version of the standard, which is due to be published later this year. The proposed amendment is an update to the Australian Aquatic Plant Names Standard (AS 5301). Click here to review the standard

Click here to provide feedback


Previous public consultation applications are available on request from



Communiques (Discontinued in 2023)




Email for more information and enquiries.