Press release

Western Australia Snappers Swim into Full Sustainability Assessment

August 10, 2016

  • First temperate and tropical snappers and grouper in the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) program
  • 26 new species of finfish to be assessed including Goldband Snapper and Red Emperor
  •  Fish supplied to domestic fishmongers, restaurants and Asian markets

Today, three of Western Australia’s most commercially valuable finfish fisheries enter Marine Stewardship Council full assessment. The Western Australia Kimberley and Pilbara demersal scalefish trap fisheries and the Gascoyne demersal line fishery will begin the rigorous, transparent, third party assessment against the MSC’s environmental standard for sustainable fishing.

Twenty-six species of finfish will be included in the assessment, including popular restaurant favourites such as Goldband Snapper, Red Emperor and Pink Snapper. A majority of the catch is sold to restaurants and fish mongers in Western Australia, domestically and through to Hong Kong and Singapore markets.

These are the first temperate and tropical snapper and groupers to enter the MSC program in Australia and if successful, significantly increase the amount of availability of MSC finfish in the region,” says Matt Watson, MSC Fisheries Officer, Oceania and Southeast Asia.

Operating in the waters in the revered Kimberly, Gascoyne and Pilbara regions, it is important to be sure these fisheries are operating in a sustainable manner. The MSC offers an independent, transparent and stakeholder driven tool for fisheries to demonstrate their sustainability,” Mr. Watson adds.

These fisheries are part of Western Australia’s State Government $14.5 million dollar commitment to have all 50 commercial fisheries independently assessed against the MSC’s environmental standard for sustainable fishing. The assessment will be carried out by conformity assessment body, Acoura, a process which can take between 12- 18 months.

Fisheries are assessed by third party, independent auditors against the MSC Standard which 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.

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