WA fisheries to undergo MSC sustainable fisheries assessment

WA fisheries, Exmouth Gulf and Shark Bay prawns are the first businesses under the West Australian Government’s $14.5 million initiative to undergo a full assessment against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard for sustainable fisheries.

Minister for Agriculture and Food; Fisheries, Ken Baston says that the move is a win both for the environment and local industry.

“Department of Fisheries research shows that WA prawn fisheries operate sustainably and the independent certification against the MSC standard will give us the chance to tell the world not only how good the prawns from Exmouth and Shark Bay taste, but how well these wild-catch prawn stocks are being managed,” Baston said.

According to chairman of the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) Arno Verboon, the announcement marked an important milestone in the sustainable management of the State’s two biggest prawn fisheries which are collectively worth over $20million a year.

CEO of Shark Bay Prawns, Phil Bruce says that his company is proud to be part of the initiative.

“The Shark Bay Prawn Fishery, which operates in a world heritage precinct, has always worked in partnership with the Department of Fisheries to ensure the sustainability of our fishery.  MSC certification is not a simple green-wash tick, it’s a very rigorous, independent, scientific process and will assist us in telling the great story of the Shark Bay Wild prawn,” he said.

According to the MSC, over 300 fisheries worldwide are now engaged in the MSC program and over 22,000 products bear the MSC blue ecolabel, with 200 MSC labelled products are currently available in Australia.

To gain MSC certification, fisheries must undergo an independent audit to assess whether they reach the MSC’s international standard for a sustainable fishery which is based on three key principles; viability of target stock, impact on the marine ecosystem and management of the fishery.

 

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