Fish­eries seen as sus­tain­able

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Tom Zaun­mayr

■ Prawn fish­ing op­er­a­tors in the Ex­mouth Gulf have wel­comed an in­de­pen­dent green tick of ap­proval that their op­er­a­tions are sus­tain­able.

The Ex­mouth Gulf and Shark Bay prawn fish­eries are the first to gain Marine Ste­ward­ship Coun­cil ac­cred­i­ta­tion un­der the State Gov­ern­ment’s $14.5 mil­lion push for most WA fish­eries to achieve the same sta­tus.

MG Kailis Group ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Ge­orge Kailis said meet­ing the MSC stan­dards would keep the com­pany on the front foot in a chang­ing mar­ket.

“The process was a very dif­fi­cult one,” he said.

There’s a very strin­gent set of tests you need to meet as the MSC cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is the world’s gold stan­dard,” he said,

“The com­mu­nity stan­dards are go­ing up so you need to get in front of the game if you want the re­spect of the com­mu­nity.

“It’s all very well to think you’re sus­tain­able, but it’s much harder to con­vince a global team.” Mr Kailis said the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion would im­prove ac­cess to Euro­pean mar­kets.

Min­is­ter for Fish­eries Ken Bas­ton said the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion fol­lowed the suc­cess of the western rock lob­ster fish­ery, the first in the world to gain MSC cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“WA’s key prawn fish­eries have reached the same stan­dard, with a fur­ther four fish­eries cur­rently go­ing through full as­sess­ment for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and more than 40 WA fish­eries have been through pre-as­sess­ment,” he said.

“Th­ese fish­eries are cur­rently worth around $30 mil­lion a year and the sus­tain­abil­ity tick for them puts them on an equal foot­ing with other fish­eries that have also recog­nised the grow­ing con­sumer pref­er­ence for seafood sourced from sus­tain­able fish­eries.

“Both com­mer­cial and recre­ational fish­ing play an im­por­tant part in the life­style and po­ten­tial WA pro­vides, so it’s im­por­tant that we main­tain the fish stocks and ecosys­tems that sup­port them to en­sure we de­liver not only fu­ture pros­per­ity, but fu­ture plea­sure too.”

The Marine Ste­ward­ship Coun­cil is a glob­ally recog­nised cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and eco-la­belling pro­gram for sus­tain­able seafood.

MSC chief ex­ec­u­tive Ru­pert Howes said both fish­eries should be proud of achiev­ing the “rig­or­ous” stan­dards set out in the ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

Pic­ture: John Duffy/WAFIC

Shark Bay’s Phil Bruce, MSC head Ru­pert Howes and MG Kailis’ Ge­orge Kailis cel­e­brate the for­mal an­nounce­ment of MSC cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for the Ex­mouth Gulf and Shark Bay prawn fish­eries.

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