Skip to main content

Don't make a shellfish choice this Christmas

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) reveals 8 million* Aussies celebrating Christmas will not be purchasing sustainable prawns, putting this favourite tradition at risk.

● 40% of total Australian prawn consumption occurs over Christmas**
● 14 million Aussies plan to enjoy prawns as traditional Christmases are back on the menu
● Only half (51%) plan to purchase sustainably sourced prawns putting supplies at risk 
● Celebrity chef Scott Gooding has teamed up with the Marine Stewardship Council to call on all Aussies to make the future-friendly choice by serving up certified sustainable prawns this Christmas 

Research released today by international non-profit, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), reveals that Australians are looking to Christmases gone by to inspire celebrations after a challenging year. More intimate family gatherings, retro recipes and granny’s beloved prawn cocktail are all on the menu.

The national study conducted by YouGov shows that seven in 10 (71%) Australians who celebrate Christmas believe their celebrations will be different this year as a result of the major events of 2020. Four in 10 (43%) are planning more intimate and traditional gatherings, but not entirely abandoning the benefits of tech gained in 2020, 15% still expect some guests to dial into celebrations via Zoom. 

The nation plans to embrace all aspects of the traditional Australian Christmas, with the study revealing prawns have firmly retained their popularity on our festive menus. 

Seven in ten (69%) consider prawns to be a vital part of their Christmas and nearly half (45%) say prawns are their favourite festive food, only narrowly beaten by ham (49%). 

So important is the tasty prawn to the nation’s celebrations, those surveyed say they’d rather sacrifice their morning glass of fizz (40%), listening to Christmas music (31%) or a trip to the beach and a dip in the ocean (30%), than their precious prawns (27%) this 25th December.  

When it comes to serving up prawns, the number one source of inspiration this year are family recipes (48%), reflecting a year which saw many reconnect with family, embrace home life and roll up their sleeves for some traditional cooking. Additionally, six in 10 (60%) say they are considering whipping up retro recipes, ranging from the classic chilled and peeled prawn (36%), to prawn cocktail (25%) or even, a seafood dip (18%).

However, with seafood playing an integral part in festivities, it may be a shock that half (49%) of Australians don’t plan to purchase sustainably sourced prawns, putting this great Aussie tradition at risk for future generations. One in 10 (9%) say they aren’t worried if their shellfish is sustainable, while 2.5 million Aussies (16%) don’t know what sustainable prawns are.

Anne Gabriel, MSC Oceania Program Director,
“After a challenging year, Australians deserve to enjoy their Christmas celebrations with family and friends. With many Australians changing their buying habits during the pandemic, combined with the environment increasingly being a key concern in people’s minds, conscious consumerism is on the rise.   

“This Christmas over 8 million people plan to purchase sustainable prawns, not just because it is the better choice for the environment, but to also support local fisheries and fishing communities - all of which will help to safeguard our seafood for future Christmases and generations to come.

To help make choosing and serving sustainable prawns easy, the MSC has teamed up with legendary chef and sustainability guru, Scott Gooding, to explain how to purchase, prep and present some show-stopping, sustainable seafood recipes this Christmas.

Scott Gooding says:
“The Marine Stewardship Council’s study shows that Australians aren’t just planning to throw shrimp on the barbie this year. Many are embracing a traditional Christmas with a menu to match. From dad’s prawn cocktail to granny’s seafood dip, nothing is more nostalgic or delicious than prawns at Christmas. 

“With 40% of prawns consumed over the Christmas period alone in Australia**, making the simple switch to MSC certified sustainable prawns will help to keep this festive favourite on the Christmas table for generations to come.”

Anne Gabriel adds,
“MSC certified sustainable seafood such as prawns mean they’ve been caught at a level where they’ll be around in the future. Just look for the MSC blue fish tick, available in leading supermarkets in the frozen and chilled aisles as well as Coles deli seafood counters.”

The MSC blue fish tick indicates wild-caught seafood that is traceable back to healthy fish populations. It is the only wild-capture fisheries certification and ecolabelling program that meets global best practice requirements set by both the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) and ISEAL, the global membership association for sustainability standards.

For delicious prawn recipes, top tips, and information on where to purchase MSC certified sustainable prawns with the blue fish tick, visit our Christmas prawn page.

*MSC research was conducted by YouGov Galaxy in November 2020, on a nationally representative sample of 1,017 Australians aged 18 years and older. Following the completion of interviewing, the data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.
**Australian Prawn Farmers Association (APFA)


Back to news and views

Browse more news and views from the MSC and partners.

Back to news and views