Western Australia Rock lobster fishery re-certified to MSC environmental standard
Dec 13, 2006
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is pleased to announce that the Western Australia Rock lobster fishery has been re-certified as sustainable and well managed, and is eligible to continue tagging its catch with the internationally recognised blue MSC eco-label. After the fishery’s initial certification to the MSC environmental standard in March 2000, Western Australia Rock lobster has proven in a comprehensive re-assessment that it still meets the MSC standard.
What the MSC says
The MSC’s Chief Executive Rupert Howes comments: ‘Western Australia Rock lobster was the world’s first fishery to become certified to the MSC standard, demonstrating strong leadership and a willingness to embrace an independent and transparent assessment process. The fishery’s re-certification is an immensely important acknowledgement of the value of the MSC programme. It shows that those who invest in sustainable management become increasingly committed to protecting the long term health and productivity of the ocean resource.’
What the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council Executive Officer says
The Western Australian Fishing Industry Council Executive Officer Guy Leyland says: ‘Consumers around the world are increasingly demanding to know that the seafood they are eating is from a sustainable fishery. MSC certification provides a strong and simple message to consumers that Western Australian rock lobster is that. The Western Australian Fishing Industry Council and the Western Rock Lobster Council applaud the fishers who not only use world’s best fishing practices, but also have pioneered the promotion of their commitment to consumers worldwide and their own local community.’
About the Western Australia Rock lobster fishery
The Western Australia Rock lobster fishery is the most valuable single-species fishery in Australia, representing about 20 per cent of the total value of Australia’s fisheries. Its sales generate about 300 to 400 million Australian Dollars (232 million to 309 million US Dollar) annually in export to markets including Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, China, the United States and new markets that have opened up in Europe.
The fishers target lobsters with baited pots on the coast of Western Australia from Cape Leeuwin to Shark Bay. The fishery has strict guidelines including seasonal closures, minimum size requirements and a ban on catching breeding females. Data on the fishery has been kept since the 1960s and enables fisheries scientists to predict catches accurately and ensure that controls are adequate to keep the fishery operating at sustainable levels. The fishery’s annual catch usually ranges between 10,000 and 12,000 tonnes. Commercial fishers, processors and the Western Australian government work closely together to preserve the fishery’s future.
The independent re-assessment to the MSC standard was conducted by an internationally recognised team of experts led by Scientific Certification Systems, Inc. (SCS) of Emeryville, California. The experts examined the status of the fish stock, the impact fishing has on the marine environment and the effectiveness of the fishery management system.
Photos of the fishery are available on request.
Guy Leyland, WAFIC Executive Officer, tel. +61 417907967, email:
Please visit www.scscertified.com for more information on the certifier.
The complete assessment report can be downloaded here.
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