Duncan Leadbitter has been appointed to lead commercial outreach and strategic growth in Australia and New Zealand and to support and promote engagement in the broader region for the ASC. Duncan is the first ASC representative to be based in Australia.
The ASC has expanded its focus in Australia and New Zealand in response to demand from the retail sector, government and aquaculture producers. The organisation has entered into a partnership agreement with Duncan through Fish Matter, his Australia-based fisheries and natural resource consulting company, to support ASC’s global plan and lead the regional strategy to promote the availability of ASC certified seafood for consumers in Australia and beyond.
“We are excited to welcome Duncan to the ASC,” said Chris Ninnes, CEO of ASC. “We are privileged to work with some of the most dedicated experts in the field of seafood sustainability. Duncan is among the most knowledgeable professionals in the industry and his work in Australia and Asia with local communities, various government agencies, NGO’s, scientists, academics and the industry is representative of the collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach which the ASC believes will be key to the transformation of the aquaculture industry.”
“Aquaculture is critical to ensuring the availability of the seafood necessary to feed the world,” said Duncan Leadbitter. “A growing proportion of seafood supplied in Australia and New Zealand is farmed and in the wider region this number is even higher. It is increasingly difficult for shoppers to know which fish is the best environmental and social choice. The ASC logo makes it easy for consumers to choose responsibly and I am pleased to join the ASC in this vital work.”
Australia has become an important market for ASC in recent years. A Tassal salmon farm in Macquarie Harbour became the first ASC certified farm in Australia in 2014. Since that time, nearly a dozen Australian farms have earned ASC certification. The rapid uptake on the farm side is a welcome development for retail partners in the country, including Coles. One of two major supermarket chains in Australia, Coles has made a significant commitment to ASC and launched a high profile series of advertisements and in-store promotions to highlight their dedication to the programme. Woolworths has recently also begun actively promoting ASC salmon in-store.
The ASC has received recognition from governmental agencies for good environmental and social performance. In an analysis of certification schemes, the Government of Western Australia Department of Fisheries endorsed the ASC as the preferred standard for aquaculture in that state.
Duncan will work across Australia, New Zealand and Asia to expand upon these developments by helping farm and retail partners maximise the value of ASC certification, encouraging customers to prioritise ASC products when buying farmed seafood and increasing ASC participation among farmers who supply domestic or international markets.
Duncan has expertise in the management of protected marine areas and bycatch management and has held roles in Asia, Europe, North America and the Pacific where he worked collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders to promote the responsible use of aquatic natural resources. His work experience includes projects with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, Taronga Zoo, Commonwealth Fisheries Association, Conservation International, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and Fair Trade USA. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at the University of Wollongong.
Duncan’s appointment as ASC Commercial Manager for Australia and New Zealand follows the announcement of the landmark partnership with Qingdao Tao Ran Environmental Science and Technology to promote ASC certified seafood in China and the many countries that buy aquaculture products from that country.