• ‘Sustainability’ is a vague and slippery term, especially when it comes to seafood. Whilst there is much common ground between different sustainability definitions, ultimately there is no definitive or scientific consensus about what sustainable means. So how does Happy Fish define sustainability?
  • Happy Fish adopts sustainability principles and the high benchmark established by the Sustainable Australian Seafood Assessment Program (SASAP). All endorsed Happy Fish must meet the SASAP’s stringent criteria.
  • A team of the very best independent marine and fisheries scientists in the country were formed to work with ACF. They reviewed the leading seafood assessments systems around the globe to arrive at a system uniquely suited to Australian conditions and small scale family fishers. The SASAP was formed. [more…]
  • Assessments are designed for Australia’s unique diverse marine ecosystems, and smaller scale fisheries that make up most of our fisheries but remain relatively unknown. So the SASAP sets about providing baselines to gauge future health and response to fishing as the most reliable way to gauge current and future impacts; to contribute to appropriate fishing policy and guidelines and to know where best to direct regeneration projects and efforts Australia’s leading marine and fisheries scientists created a new benchmark for seafood sustainability in collaboration with the Australian Conservation Foundation. This is the SASAP assessment process.
  • At the core of the SASAP is a new ecological benchmark for seafood sustainability assessments, regarded by many as the gold standard. The result is a scientifically robust, reliable, independent source of information for consumers, chefs and restaurateurs.
  • The SASAP takes an ecosystem-based approach, examining a broad and fine grain suite of criteria to determine the health of a fish species and the ecosystem it dwells in. This sets a significantly higher benchmark than required by law.
  • For a species to be endorsed Happy Fish, it must meet this stringent criteria.
  • The SASAP is specifically designed for Australia’s unique and diverse marine ecosystems and fishers.
  • The fisheries scientists have facilitated unprecedented access to high quality sustainability reviews, by ensuring the endorsement process is affordable for smaller scale family fishers
  • 3 main questions are asked when evaluating the sustainability of a species:
    • What is the population and resilience of the species?
    • What are the impacts of fishing on the species’ ecosystem and habitat?
    • How much bycatch is there? How much marine life is caught
      and destroyed unintentionally when fishing for this species?
  • A species may be sustainably sourced in one location whilst not meet sustainability criteria
    in another location. Fish are researched at the fishery and even fisher level, which results in greater accuracy
  • Findings are third party peer-reviewed ensuring independence and transparency
  • Assessments are regularly reviewed due to the ever-shifting nature of biological systems
  • Assessments of each species coming soon!


The Australian fishing industry has taken giant strides to rectify a once reckless approach, but depending on whether you’re talking to scientists, industry, government or recreational fishers (or a subset of these), you’ll hear very different estimations of just how sustainable our fishing industry is.

What most agree on is….Australian waters sustain less than 30% of our seafood demand, and with a growing population compounded by growing seafood consumption per capita, will in all likelihood put growing pressure on fish populations and ecosystems. Whilst some imported seafood is sustainable and some is traceable, it is inevitable that we unwittingly import environmental and even human rights problems with the seafood being brought in from overseas.


We aim to make it as easy for ethically-minded and quality conscious consumers to get the facts and vote with their dollars to support sustainably sourced seafood. If you’re confused about which seafood is best to eat, and which is best avoided, you’re not alone.

Australia is a very big country and the same species may be fished sustainably in one area but not another.

The SASAP assessment system undertakes extensive research to arrive at its seafood endorsements. The Happy Fish Directory builds transparency and accountability in the supply chain promoting industry exemplars, from the fishers all the way to the retailers.