Press releases

Exmouth Gulf and Shark Bay prawns get the MSC blue tick

October 26, 2015

  •  Exmouth Gulf and Shark Bay prawns receive MSC certification for sustainable fishing
  •  The region is home to turtles, whale sharks and migratory seabirds
  •  The first fisheries to be certified through WA’s AUS$14.5 million project
  •  More than 50% of wild-caught prawns in Australia are MSC certified sustainable

Western Australia’s Exmouth Gulf and Shark Bay prawn fisheries have received the independent Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for sustainable fishing.

The two fisheries operate in the Gascoyne Region, which is home to a range of important animals such as protected migratory seabirds, threatened hawksbill and flatback turtles and vulnerable whale sharks.

The region is also home to important habitats such as seagrass beds and coral reefs, and to a diversity of fish and other marine creatures. The MSC certification of these fisheries ensures they are operating sustainably and not significantly impacting on these very important species and habitats.

Exmouth Gulf and Shark Bay are the first fisheries to achieve MSC certification through the WA Government’s $14.5 million partnership between the Western Australia Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) and MSC.

MSC’s CEO Rupert Howes, while speaking at the Seafood Directions conference in Fremantle, congratulated the fisheries on their achievement.
“The fishing industry in Western Australia has shown tremendous initiative in championing the sustainability of their fisheries,” Mr Howes said.

“With the MSC certification, Shark Bay and Exmouth Gulf have the assurance they are performing at sustainable levels in accordance with the world’s most scientific and rigorous wild caught fishing standard,” he said.

With the addition of Shark Bay and Exmouth Gulf prawns completing an independent third-party assessment against the MSC Standard, more than 50% of the wild caught prawns in Australia are now MSC certified sustainable. The two fisheries provide tiger and king prawns to fish mongers and restaurants in WA, across Australia and internationally. The prawns are available under the Shark Bay Wild brand, sold by the seven operators of the Shark Bay fishery. Prawns from Exmouth Gulf are sold under the Exmouth Wild brand fished through MG Kailis group.

WWF-Australia spokesperson Jo-Anne McCrea said the certification of Shark Bay and Exmouth Gulf prawn fisheries is good news for the region’s species.

“MSC certification, builds on existing practices, such as the use of turtle exclusion devices on nets, which have significantly reduced turtle bycatch,” Ms McCrea said.

“WWF congratulates the WA Government for its leadership in supporting independent accreditation such as MSC certification. Other governments would do well to follow WA’s lead in supporting its fishing and aquaculture industries to demonstrate sustainable credentials through third party independent certifications,” she said.

The MSC Standard assesses three core principles including fishery stock health, impact on marine environment and management of the fishery. MSC certified fisheries are continually monitored and must complete annual surveillance audits as well as being reassessed every five years. More than 615 improvements to fishing practices and environmental management have been delivered by MSC certified fisheries since 2000.

Media contacts:

  •  MSC: Communications Manager, Charlotte Connell ph: +61 422 296 192;
  •  WWF-Australia: National Media Manager, Daniel Rockett ph: +61 (0)432 206 592,;

About Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Film: The MSC Standard for environment sustainable fishing explained

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organisation. Our vision is for the world’s oceans to be teeming with life, and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations. Our ecolabel and certification program recognises and rewards sustainable fishing practices and is helping create a more sustainable seafood market.
The MSC ecolabel on a seafood product means that:

  • It comes from a wild-catch fishery which has been independently certified to the MSC’s science-based standard for environmentally sustainable fishing.
  • It’s fully traceable to a sustainable source.

More than 260 fisheries in over 35 countries are certified to the MSC’s Standard. These fisheries have a combined annual seafood production of almost nine million metric tonnes, representing close to 10% of annual global yields. More than 18,000 seafood products worldwide carry the MSC ecolabel.

About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

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