In a world first, Western Australia’s Western Rock Lobster has been re-certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for the fifth time in a row. The re-certification represents a major sustainability milestone for the fishery
MSC’s Fisheries Standard is used to assess if a fishery is well-managed and sustainable. The process involves a rigorous independent expert review, which examines the sustainability of breeding stock, as well as fishing effort, and the impact of the fishery on the wider environment. It also looks at how well the fishery consults with stakeholders, recreational fishers and conservation organisations.
The McGowan Government is committed to the sustainable management of WA’s fisheries, to benefit not only the environment, but also the jobs and economic growth the industry supports.
Today’s news that Western Rock Lobster has been re-certified is a testament to the sound management and research programs that underpin this highly valuable resource.
MSC certification has also helped spark a growing international interest in Western Rock Lobster with new export opportunities opening-up through the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement.
WA’s West Coast Rock Lobster Managed Fishery consists of 230 vessels using baited pots to fish for rock lobster. There are strict requirements in place including minimum size requirements, a quota management system and a ban on catching breeding females.
Data has been kept since the 1960s that allows WA fisheries scientists from the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development to accurately predict catches up to four years in advance, ensuring controls are adequate to maintain sustainable levels.
Details on where you can purchase lobsters through back-of-boat sales is available here.
As stated by Fisheries Minister Don Punch:
“WA’s Western Rock Lobster industry should be very proud of its commitment to sustainability, especially for being the first fishery to commit to MSC’s high standards.
“These days more than 530 fisheries around the world are certified with MSC and our West Coast Rock Lobster Fishery is the first in the world to have been re-certified five times in a row.
“Earlier this year, Western Australia was congratulated by MSC for our commitment to fisheries sustainability, and with 12 MSC-certified fisheries we now have more than 90 per cent of the value of our State’s fisheries certified as sustainable.
“The McGowan Government was proud to support Western Rock Lobster industry with a range of measures, when access to the China market was severely limited and the ongoing initiative to allow back-of-boat sales has become a very popular way for fishers to sell their catch and engage with the local community.
“Seafood lovers have taken up the opportunity in droves, to enjoy world-class, sustainable rock lobster at its freshest, direct from the fishers, and with Christmas fast-approaching, it’s a great time for you to support a world-leading fishery”