There is a need for the Australian seafood industry to capture benefits from internationally recognised standards relating to environmental management and food safety. This is consistent with the challenge of optimising market development, maximising seafood value and securing equitable financial returns. Allied to this is the need for greater consumer awareness of seafood quality reflecting seafood safety and environmental stewardship. With a demonstrable commitment to these goals from the catching sector, the rock lobster industry presents a role model for supply chain management.
New food safety standards applicable to the Seafood Industry align to new food safety legislation. However, ensuring compliance to new standards can be problematic because the standards are impenetrable to most grass roots participants in the Seafood Industry. A gap analysis comparing work practices aboard fishing vessels and in processing sheds was used to develop practical standards aligned to the new food safety standards. In a world of increasing rules and regulations industry participants need to engage proactively in ensuring that Australian seafood product continues to be valued on domestic and export markets. This project is part of a larger integrated environment and product management strategy (the Clean Green strategy). The strategy realises a vision for excellence in environmental management, fisheries sustainability, product quality, workplace safety, animal welfare and, through this project, food safety.
The project presents best practice in the South Australian rocklobster industry applicable to food safety. Standards relating to on board product handling and processing of rock lobsters have been developed and described in plain language practical terms. These standards have been presented in an accreditation system under the guidance of JAS-ANZ to provide for audit of food safety protocols. The accreditation system is similar to other Environmental Management Systems developed for Australian Seafood Sectors in that it provides for continual improvement. However, this project supports the world’s first fully integrated supply chain management system applicable to a commercial fishery.
Importantly, this project reflects pride in performance of the participants in the rocklobster industry: a proactive response to environmental management of commercial fisheries. It has now been extended to the other Southern rock lobster producing states of Tasmania and Victoria to create the premium brand Australian Southern Rocklobster.
Keywords: Australian Southern Rocklobster, food safety, standards, supply chain management, audit protocols.