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Nothing fishy about country of origin labelling push

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• Move at State and Federal levels to require restaurants and take-away shops to identify if fish sold is local or imported

WHAT: Press Conference TODAY at 11.45am (SA time) WHERE: Soto’s Fish Shop, 23 Semaphore Road, Semaphore WHO: Nick Xenophon and John Darley MLC (who’ll be cooking fish!), George Mazarakos - proprietor, and Nathan Bicknell - Marine Fishers Association

Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, will combine forces with SA Independent MLC, John Darley, to introduce legislation at State and Federal levels requiring fish retailers serving seafood to clearly identify if the product is local or imported.

The call follows a report in The Australian today revealing that Australia imports 70 per cent of all the seafood we eat.

The legislation will be based on laws introduced in the Northern Territory in 2008 that requires fish retailers serving imported seafood to clearly identify if the product is imported.

“Consumers have a right to know if the fish they are eating is imported from overseas or from local waters,” Nick said.

“The fact that consumers cannot make an informed decision about what they are getting at the fish and chip shop is hurting the local fishing industry,” John said.

A 2011 review of the Northern Territory legislation showed consumers were willing to pay up to 25% more for local seafood and country of origin was the second-most important factor for consumers, behind freshness.

“This survey indicated an increase in sale of local produce after the labelling requirements came into force, which shows people are willing to pay for an Australian product.”

The moves are backed by the Marine Fishers Association of SA which represents garfish, whiting, snapper and squid fishers.

The media conference will take place at Soto’s Fish Shop, which has been rated as one of Australia’s top five coastal fish and chip shops. Proprietor George Mazarakos supports the proposed changes.

For more information contact Alex Taylor on 0433 620 850, Nick Xenophon on 0411 626 677 or John Darley on 0403 201 928