Australian Western rock lobster fishery achieves world-first with fourth recertification to MSC Standard — Marine Stewardship Council
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Australian Western rock lobster fishery achieves world-first fourth recertification

Australian Western rock lobster fishery achieves world-first fourth recertification

Australian Western rock lobster fishery achieves world-first with fourth recertification to MSC Standard

Jun 13, 2017

  • The Australian Western rock lobster fishery was the world’s first MSC certified fishery, initially certified in 2000.

  • Recertification announcement by Western Australian Fisheries Minster Dave Kelly in Fremantle, WA celebrates 17 continuous years of MSC certification, an ongoing commitment to sustainable fishing and a fishery recognised to be performing at global best practice levels.


The Australian Western rock lobster fishery is the first fishery in the world to be recertified to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Fisheries Standard for a fourth successive time.

This 2017 recertification again proves that all commercial vessels fishing in the West Coast Rock Lobster fishery licensed by the State of Western Australia meet the MSC’s rigorous sustainability requirements. The MSC’s science-based standard is the world’s most credible and recognised standard for environmentally sustainable wild-caught seafood.

The Australian Western rock lobster fishery is Australia’s most valuable single-species wild capture fishery.

In 2000 was the first in the world to achieve certification to the MSC’s Standard for sustainable fishing.

In 2015, the fishery landed 6086t of the allowable catch of 6090t valued at AUD$420m. The majority of Western rock lobsters are sold into the Chinese market, but the fishing industry and the Western Australia state government worked together in 2016 to ensure domestic market interests are serviced with a trial scheme to allow the sale of up to 12,500 sustainable lobsters direct from fishing boats.

Kim Colero, Chair of the Western Rock Lobster Council says "The Western rock lobster industry is extremely important to Western Australian regional economies, and understands its responsibilities. Using the MSC framework, our fishery continues to monitor, respond and innovate.

Third-party accreditation is becoming increasingly important in our industry as it differentiates our product from others on the market.”

Anne Gabriel, MSC Program Director for Oceania says “The MSC is a market based mechanism allowing certified fisheries to be continuously incentivised through our ecolabel which ensures provenance and traceability all along the supply chain to a sustainable source. The Australian Western rock lobster fishery has demonstrated significant commitment and resilience in meeting the MSC requirements for an unprecedented fourth time

The fishery’s 17 continuous years of certification has underpinned the journey for many other West Australian fisheries that have since made the commitment to certification. This has brought over 90% of WA fisheries by value into the MSC program. I applaud the sustainable pioneers within the rock lobster industry and I look forward to working with the industry over the next five years to maximise on the value of MSC certification.”

The Australian Western rock lobster fishery is one of the 313 MSC certified fisheries globally, landing 12% of wild marine seafood. Western rock lobster is one of 20 MSC certified species caught in Australia.

Fisheries are assessed by third party, independent auditors against the MSC Fisheries Standard, which covers three core principles: fishery stock health, impact on marine environment and management of the fishery. The third-party assessment team (SCS Global Services) highlighted that the Western rock lobster is subject to a ‘best practice’ analytical stock assessment and that the status of the stock is good. There is little bycatch, and the fishery is well managed with respect to control and enforcement.

MSC certified fisheries are continually monitored and must complete annual surveillance audits as well as being reassessed every five years. More than 1,200 improvements to fishing practices and environmental management improvements have been delivered by MSC certified fisheries since 2000. 

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