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Go for Gold

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 10.34.53 AMWA Abalone commercial fishery achieves gold sustainability standard.

In a world first, the Western Australian Abalone commercial fishery has been certified by the gold standard Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as a well- managed and sustainable fishery after a twelve-month rigorous independent assessment.

Following in the footsteps of other Western Australian fisheries, abalone has become the ninth WA fishery to obtain MSC certification. This accreditation covers all three-abalone species commercially harvested in WA including greenlip abalone (Haliotis laevigate), brownlip abalone (Haliotis conicopora) and roe’s abalone (Haliotis roei).

The Abalone Industry Association of WA (AIAWA) Chairman, Peter Rickerby said that consumers in Asia, particularly in high end markets, demand seafood that has been sourced from sustainable fisheries.

“Abalone is a highly sought-after product in Asian markets and by obtaining MSC certification, the WA abalone industry and supply chain partners, are in a strong position to meet the demands of these fast-growing markets that require sustainability authentication. As the majority of the world’s aquaculture produce comes from China and Korea, with several other countries beginning to increase supply, MSC’s blue tick eco-label will give WA producers a credible way to brand their wild caught produce as premium.”

Mr Rickerby credits the WA abalone fishery, made up of family businesses, most of which have been in the industry over thirty years, for their ongoing commitment and dedication to ensuring consumers receive environmentally sustainable seafood.

“Since its inception in the late sixties, abalone fisherman have operated in the remote yet pristine waters off the South and South West coasts of Western Australia, often under challenging and sometimes dangerous conditions. Being an abalone diver is not only a job for many in the industry, it’s a lifestyle, where the reward is high, but dangers are often and great. The achievement of MSC certification gives recognition to the stringent sustainability practices of the WA abalone fishery and the commitment of all involved. We are very proud to have achieved this recognition through a global gold standard best practice certification and look forward to the new business opportunities MSC certification will bring,” he concluded.

Shire of Esperance President, Victoria Brown, congratulated the WA Abalone commercial fishery on the achievement and acknowledged the role the industry plays in the local community.

“It’s a credit to the Abalone Industry Association of WA to be the first abalone fishery in the world to achieve the internationally recognised, MSC certification. This is great news for the industry and supports sustainable fishing whilst safeguarding future Abalone supplies. It’s an honour to have this announcement made in Esperance where we have a number of abalone industry businesses operating along our pristine south coast,” she said.

Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC), Chief Executive Officer, John Harrison, concluded by commending the fishery for obtaining the accreditation – an achievement helping to reaffirm WA’s reputation as a world leader in sustainability and fisheries management.

“WAFIC commends the abalone industry, which contributes millions to WA’s economy, on obtaining the global gold standard for seafood sustainability. Achieving MSC certification gives seafood consumers across the world confidence that wild catch abalone has been harvested to the world’s best quality standards. The achievement is a testament to all involved, showcasing to consumers, WA’s ever-involved commitment to supplying environmentally sustainable seafood,” Mr Harrison said.

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