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Anne Gabriel

Anne Gabriel

MSC Program Director, Oceania & Singapore

Seafood insights: Q&A with John Susman

December 7, 2020

John Susman with a fish

John Susman is the director of FishTales.

John Susman has been catching, processing, selling, marketing and mostly eating seafood professionally for the past 30 years. Having worked across all aspects of the industry from catcher to cook to critic, Susman is well placed to work with every stakeholder in the supply chain to dream up the best way to get their catch to market and the best products into the best restaurants.
We sat down with John to talk about his views on the future of sustainable seafood.

What is your vision for seafood sustainability in Australia? 

I am inspired to see that “seafood sustainability” becomes part of everyman, everyday thinking. I would like to see consumers consider their choice of seafood, by species, cut, season and use; as an inherent part of their shopping, not merely relying on the catchers, growers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers to be the custodians of seafood sustainability. To this end, seeing consumers make seafood choices which extend across species, cuts, price and meal occasions to minimise waste and maximise utilisation of all seafood which is caught or harvested.

How do you see yourself playing an instrumental part towards this vision? 

I see our role in educating, inspiring and motivating consumers to look beyond their existing seafood experiences, which may be restricted to only prime cuts, and help them to enjoy lesser known species, cuts or uses of seafood to both broaden their seafood experiences and maximise the use of seafood that is caught or harvested.

Do you think enough is being done?  

Clearly more could be done, however, I am proud of the culinary culture in this country and excited that in less than a generation, we have some of the most discerning seafood consumers on the planet and that with encouragement, we can mobilise them to think more broadly about seafood and engage in trying new species, new cuts and new ways to use seafood. 

What is the role you see for independent, science based international certification schemes like the MSC in that vision? 

The MSC plays a vital role in supporting producers and providing the scientific validation of the primary resource through the supply chain. It is important that all stakeholders across the industry collaborate to support this validation for long lasting impact on our oceans.

Do you think its idealistic to think that someday all products on supermarket shelves or counters and menus will be environmentally friendly and socially ethical? 

I think this is an imperative NOT an ideal – we collectively have an obligation to make this happen!

What’s your favourite seafood dish/cuisine?  

I love seafood across all its forms, cuisines and dishes. I am inspired by the endless flavours, textures and culinary possibilities which seafood offers. 

Find out more about John Susman and his work at Fishtales
Your guide to sustainable seafood

Your guide to sustainable seafood

Find out where to buy, what to look for and the questions to ask.

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