Sustainable Fish and Seafood

Sustainable Fish and Seafood

What is sustainable seafood?
Why is sustainable seafood important to us?
Our commitment
Sustainable Seafood in our stores
Our partners
Supporting our suppliers


What is Sustainable Seafood

Sustainable seafood can be wild caught or farmed/aquaculture. For wild caught fish, sustainable seafood is generally sourced from fish stock that are in abundance using methods that don’t damage ocean habitats or catch large volumes of non-target species (bycatch).

Sustainable farmed seafood is grown in aquaculture systems that don’t destroy coastal habitats or depend on overfished wild caught fisheries as feed.

 Why is sustainable seafood important to us?

Seafood is an integral part of our fresh food offer so healthy oceans, sustainable fish stocks and a viable fishing industry are all essential to our business.

Our customers love their seafood. It’s healthier, easy to prepare and it tastes great. Global consumption of fish is at a record high. There has been a seven-fold increase in global fishing volumes over the past 50 or so years – from 19 million tonnes in 1950 to about 142 million tonnes in 2008.

We want to help restore and improve fish stocks in the oceans and create sustainable and secure supply of seafood not just for today but well into the future. We are also supporting our suppliers so that we continue to have a viable fishing industry.

Our commitment

Our aim is to ensure that all our seafood comes from sustainable sources.

Wild-caught seafood

  • Our ambition is to have all our wild-caught seafood range Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified in the long term. 
  • MSC is the world’s leading independent certification and eco-labelling scheme for wild-caught seafood. To achieve MSC certification, fisheries must demonstrate - through a rigorous, independent assessment process – that the stocks being targeted are healthy, the fishing practices have minimal impact on the marine eco-system and overall the fishery is well managed.
  • Our Select brand canned tuna will be pole and line caught by the end of 2013.
  •  We will phase out the use of fish aggregation devices (FADs) by the end of 2015 in all own brand canned tuna. Removing the FADs will significantly reduce the bycatch of sharks, dolphins and juvenile tuna in the supply chain.
Farmed seafood

For farmed seafood, our aim is to have all the products certified to sustainable farming practices by credible third party certification schemes by 2015.

The certification schemes recognised by Woolworths at this time are:

  • The Global GAP Aquaculture
  •  The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA)
  • The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)

Sustainable Seafood in our stores

Seafood counters
  •  Banana prawns, Spencer Golf king prawns, NZ Hoki, smoked cod and Western Australian rock lobster are all MSC certified.
  •  70% of fresh salmon sold in our stores in independently certified for using sustainable aquaculture (farming) principles. Work is underway for certification of the remaining 30%.
  •  70% of the fish sold in our fish counters has been assessed by Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) which has which has strongly guided our sourcing decisions
Freezer section
  • Select Crumbed fish fillets - 400g (MSC)
  • Select Crumbed fish fillets - 1kg (MSC)
  • Select Garlic and herb crumbed fish fillets - 400g (MSC)
  • Select Lemon pepper crumbed fish fillets - 400g (MSC)
  • Select Tempura battered fish fillets - 400g (MSC)

Canned fish

  •  Select canned salmon in a range of can sizes (MSC)
  •  Select canned tuna is all “pole and line” caught
  •  Homebrand canned tuna is all caught without the use of FADs

In addition to our own brand products listed, we range several other MSC certified brands such as Sealord, Birds Eye and John West.
Look for this sign on the pack


Our Partners


Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP)

We have partnered with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), an independent non-government organisation, to carry out the scientific assessment of the sustainability of our seafood products and provide advice on the management of specific issues.

We chose SFP because of their expertise, independence and rigorous research methodology for sustainability assessments of fish and fisheries. We liked their approach because it is science based and transparent. The assessment and rating methodology is publicly available and they post their fishery evaluations online at

Taronga Conservation Society Australia

Taronga and Woolworths join forces to commit to a future full of fish.

We have also partnered with the Taronga Conservation Society Australia and together we support and promote sustainable seafood choices.

The partnership involves a multi-million dollar investment over three years, with Woolworths becoming the principal supporter of Taronga’s Great Southern Oceans precinct, which provides a unique experience of Australia’s marine wildlife and highlights its conservation needs. Funds will also directly support a range of the Zoo’s marine protection programs, working to help species from the Antarctic to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The partnership will operate throughout Woolworths stores around the country to make it easy for Australians to make seafood choices that protect marine life for the future.

Supporting our suppliers

We are committed to supporting our suppliers on this journey. We will work with our suppliers to improve the sustainability of our seafood supply chain. We recognise that certification takes time and resources and we will work with our suppliers to achieve this goal.

Where appropriate, we will co-invest under our Fresh Food Future program for sustainability improvements and certification of fisheries supplying our products.

In support of our suppliers we have provided:

  •  $25,000 grant to Northern Prawn Fishery for MSC certification.
  •  $10,000 to CSIRO and South East Trawl Fishery Industry Association (SETFIA) for research on status of orange roughy.
  •  $80,000 invested in research with Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery to improve the sustainability of the catch methods for the popular gummy shark (flake) product to the Australian consumer.
  •  Jointly funded Nuffield scholarship with Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) for a fisheries professional.

To learn more, please visit our Woolworths Limited channel on YouTube