Fisheries seen as sustainable
■ 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.
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.