Make Bondi Beach Australia’s first sustainable seafood destination and grow the project across Australia and internationally
To inspire and empower fishers right through to the end consumers to think and act sustainably when sourcing seafood, to support healthy oceans and fish for future generations
The Happy Fish Project was started by Bondi Beach locals alarmed to discover the extent of fish, ocean and ecosystem decline. We have evolved into a mission-driven enterprise committed to providing information that is simple, independent, transparent and trustworthy. It is a practical solution to the widespread confusion and mistrust about what seafood’s sustainable, where to source it, and the lack of reward for businesses who source seafood responsibly.
It started in Autumn 2012 when I put my foot in it, at a screening and discussion about a devastating film on the state of global fisheries. As I bemoaned Council’s environmental inaction, a local councillor present challenged me to ‘walk the talk’. Fast forward a few months and a group of us invited leading seafood industry, restaurateurs and NGOs to a meeting to help make Bondi Beach Australia’s first sustainable seafood destination.
The marine and fishing world is a polarised minefield of passionate and often divisive positions. Come the night of the meeting, a wild freak storm was an apt reminder that nature rules, and of the volatile chemistry of the meeting attendees. Amazingly what emerged was peace and love in our times, with a palpable enthusiasm crystallising around the simple belief that fishers and fishing industry can best be served by responsible fishing practices.
Many relationships have evolved from this beginning, giving Happy Fish its collaborative current form. The marine and seafood community’s passion for the oceans, fish and fishing is rare and infectious. It’s a fascinating ecosystem with fascinating characters, and it is easy to get hooked!
Founder, Happy Fish
Much of my early cynicism has dissolved as I’ve witnessed so many people muck in and help because they want to see this project work. The lifeblood of Happy Fish has been and is likely to remain collaboration and goodwill from diverse ocean-to-plate networks. I’m full of gratitude for the backing received from our terrific ambassadors; I’m in awe of the dedication demonstrated by time-poor chefs, suppliers, marine scientists, fishers, environmental advocates, artists and many others who’ve generously donated, time, knowledge, enthusiasm and support to the Happy Fish Project. It wouldn’t have happened without you!
Thank you to all of the following: Prue Cancian for pushing the idea, Transition Bondi for incubating the project, Peter Dowson’s mentoring, Sea Shepherdess Fiona McCuaig’s tireless barracking for the oceans, Cathy Quinn’s mentorship, MSC’s Patrick Caleo & Charlotte Connell, Jules Crocker of Joto insisting on the need for traceability and bringing Duncan Leadbitter into the fray, Duncan for his many fathoms-deep fish wisdom and industry knowledge
AMCS’s Toohni Mahto and Joshua Coates collaborative spirit, Greenpeace, Nature Conservation Council, Dr Trevor Ward, Taronga Zoo, and Waverley Council’s environment department who give up their weekends to help us community groups. Sydney Fish Markets, the Masterfishermen, FRDC, WWF, photographers Paul & George Caddy and aptly named Richard Ling, Good for Nothing, Andy Fackrell, artists Sarah Tooth, Simon Letch & Adam Long. Mitch Standen for his sure footed business guidance and generosity, Jo Webb for her stewardship and coaching, website designer Pete Derbyshire of Webthinking for his patience and pursuit of excellence, Elizabeth Macdonald’s web strategy and content editing, all our Ambassadors, the passionate pilot businesses who are in this because they know it’s the way to go: fishers the Byrnes brothers; restaurateurs Joel Best and Three Blue Ducks; Barry and Helena from the fish shop The One that Got Way, Market research conducted by Sydney TAFE Peter Heywood’s senior market research students, and later UNSW School of Business’s Dr Song Ting Dong’s undergraduate and masters students and anyone else who’s contributed and not been mentioned THANK YOU!
Happy Fish is a project of not-for-profit Transition Sydney Incorporated