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ABOUT FISHNAMES

The Australian Fish Names Standard AS 5300-2015:

  • prescribes a standard fish name for each species of fish produced or trade in Australia
  • includes over 4,000 Australian and imported species
  • was approved by Standards Australia as an official Australian Standard in 2007
  • was developed by the Australian Fish Names Committee.

Need for Standard Fish Names

Public and consumer confidence is supremely important to the wellbeing of Australia's $4 billion seafood industry. Standard fish names:

  • remove confusion
  • strengthen consumer confidence
  • create market efficiency
  • underpin effective species-based fisheries management, and 
  • improve management of food safety

Australia has over 5000 native species of finfish, and many more crustaceans and molluscs. Several hundred of these species are important commercially, and many others support recreational activities such as fishing and diving. Australia also imports seafood products consisting of many other fish species from around the world to help satisfy the increasing demand for seafood.

Confusion over fish names has been caused by the numerous species Australia has on offer, a species being known by more than one name, or the same name being used for more than one species. As early as the 1920s, meetings were held in Sydney to discuss fish names as the local and regional variations were becoming apparent. 

Extensive work on standardizing names used for fish in Australia has been undertaken since the early 1980s by industry, governments, scientists and other stakeholders. Major progress has been made since 1992 as a result of strategic investments by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. Seafood Services Australia (SSA) accepted responsibility for standardizing fish names in 2001 and continued to maintain this momentum. SSA was accredited as a standards setting body in 2006 and subsequently developed the first version of this standard. SSA ceased operations in 2013.