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Happy Fish: Finding Sustainable Seafood in Bondi

By Nicola Saltman, Waverley Council’s Sustainable Communities on March 8, 2018 in Other

Thou shall have a fishy on a little dishy…

Many of us have thrown a shrimp or two on the barbie this summer. Did you ever wonder where it came from and whether it had been fished sustainably? You’ll be happy to learn that local Second Nature champion Sandra Marshall has and, with her Happy Fish Project, she’s hoping to make it easy for you to source sustainable seafood locally. This means that you can chow down without the guilt of your meal messing with the environment.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your connection to the local area? My background is in architecture and film design. I’ve been a Bondi local for 18 years and I’ve seen huge changes in that time. The ocean’s been a constant, and the longer I live here, the more I’m connected to it.

What’s your favourite thing about living in Bondi? Waving to the whales swimming by, guerilla green-strip veggie planting, diverse people and the city colliding with the ocean.

What inspired you to create the Happy Fish Project? I put my foot in it at a screening and discussion of the film The End of the Line. As I bemoaned Council’s environmental inaction, a local councillor who was present challenged me to ‘walk the talk’. I’ve since learnt just how impressive Waverley Council’s environment department is.

In a nutshell, what is the Happy Fish Project about? We’re on a mission to support healthy oceans by making it ridiculously simple for you to know what seafood is sustainable, where to get it, and how to track it back to the fishers. Our tracking app shows you when and where your seafood was harvested, and by whom.

What’s your overall vision for Happy Fish? To make Bondi Australia’s first sustainable seafood destination and grow the project across Australia and internationally.

What can seafoodies do to make a difference? Choose responsibly harvested seafood whenever possible. Conscious consumers vote for the way we want fish to be caught, sold and valued. The sum of our individual choices translates to market demand, which is the clearest message to industry that good seafood-sourcing is good for business.

Where can I buy sustainable fish? Look for the Happy Fish logo at these well-respected local businesses: Joel Best’s Bondi’s Best on Hall Street and in North Bondi, and LoFly in Potts Point; Three Blue Ducks in Bronte; and The One That Got Away on Bondi Road.

What top three things are you hoping people will get from using Happy Fish? Connection to the oceans, fish and fishers; a deeper appreciation for the preciousness of our oceans; and empowerment to make a difference and vote at the counter of your fish ‘n’ chip shop or restaurant.

Collaboration has been at the heart of the development of Happy Fish; who’s been involved in the development and how has that process worked? This is a complex undertaking and many incredible people have given freely of their time, including Transition Bondi, leading fisheries scientists and seafood industry, Duncan Leadbitter, Sydney Fish Markets, AMCS, Greenpeace, WWF, NCC, UNSW market research, Happy Fish ambassadors Matthew Evans, Sarah Wilson, Costa Georgiadis and more. I’m working closely with our pilot fishers the Byrnes brothers, Professor David Booth is completing fish assessments, Mitch Standen is steering us towards pilot launch, and Liz Macdonald keeps our communications concise.

Happy Fish is one of the 10 local groups that Waverley Council closely collaborates with on sustainability. For more information about Happy Fish, please visit