This standard prescribes an approved standard name for each species of aquatic plant commercially traded in Australia.

For the purpose of this standard, aquatic plants are defined as plants used commercially as a source of food, therapeutics derivatives and additives, that naturally require saltwater or freshwater habitats for growth.

The development of an Australian Standard for Aquatic Plant Names is supported by funding from the FRDC on behalf of the Australian Government.

Aquatic Plant Names standard development updates

About Standard

This is an important and rapidly emerging issue, and the industry has been proactive and developed a list of agreed standard names for commercial, and potentially commercial, aquatic plant species.

AS 5301-2020 The Australian Standard for Aquatic Plant Names has been published and can be downloaded here.

The Australian Standard for Aquatic Plant Names will potentially list standard names for both marine and freshwater plants but the first version has focussed on commercial aquatic plants.

This standard defines the standard names for aquatic plant names including algae, microalgae, samphire, etc to be used in Australia; and specify when standard names are to be used. Plants from marine and freshwater environments are covered by this standard, irrespective of the country of origin.

While the scope of the standard is intentionally broad, the Aquatic Plants Standards Reference Body (SRB) has restricted the initial list of species to key commercial species.

Other commercial species will be added as the need arises.

Purpose and Net Benefit of the Standard

Use of standard names for aquatic plants in Australia, as defined in this Standard, achieves outcomes that are consistent with the aims of industry and governments.

Public health and safety

  • Public health and safety are enhanced because as edible aquatic plants become more prevalent, the community should need to have confidence in what they are purchasing/consuming, particularly as this is an emerging industry offering new products to many Australian consumers.
  • It is possible that specific allergens and/or potential toxins may be present in some aquatic plants and correct labelling should allow affected persons to avoid products that pose a risk.

Social and community impact

  • This is an emerging industry and there is opportunity to create an industry agreed set of standard names for aquatic plants in the embryonic stages of the industry’s development.
  • Producers shall have confidence in the names of the species of aquatic plants that have been harvested.
  • A more successful marketing strategy can be undertaken because of the industry agreed plant names.
  • Stakeholders have expressed widespread support for the Standard.
  • All state jurisdictions either reported growth in the sector or growing interest in macroalgae farming.

Environmental impact

  • Use of the agreed standard names for aquatic plants allows for improved management of the aquatic resource.
  • This Standard provides the opportunity for linkages to stock assessment data to facilitate better management of aquatic resources.


  • Development of this agreed set of standard names for aquatic plants to be used in Australia shall facilitate international alignment, particularly where aquatic plant products are imported. Both imported and domestic product shall need to use the same name in Australia.

Economic impact

  • Consumers shall know what they are getting through truth in labelling. The names that are developed shall be well publicised and shall become known to consumers. Not developing a standard would result in marketplace confusion.
  • Producers and suppliers shall have certainty in what they are producing and/or supplying and shall have the ability to develop marketing strategies and business plans based on agreed and accepted standard names.