Peel-Harvey estuarine fishery to undergo first-ever combined Marine Stewardship Council assessment

THE Peel-Harvey Estuarine fishery will undergo a full Marine Stewardship Council assessment as Western Australia’s commercial and recreational fishing sectors join forces in a world-first collaboration to protect seafood stocks.

Mayor Marina Vergone said the assessment, which was announced this morning at the Channel 7 Mandurah Crab Fest, was a big honour for the City.

“A fishery that is MSC certified has passed the world’s most rigorous, scientific standards and will put Mandurah in the spotlight for sustainable fishing, ensuring enjoyment for our community for generations to come,” she said.

John Harrison, Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) chief, said he welcomed the announcement.

 “WA has a global reputation for the quality of its fisheries’ management,” Mr Harrison said. “We now have the Peel-Harvey Estuarine fishery -- the first combined recreational and commercial fishery in the world to apply for full assessment under the MSC’s independent third-party certification process.”

He said he was very pleased at the way WAFIC, WA’s peak body representing the interests of the commercial fishing, pearling and aquaculture sectors, had worked with its recreational fishing sector counterpart, Recfishwest, to benefit the wider community.

 “Achieving MSC certification provides the broader community with certainty that the fishery is managed to world’s best practice in terms of the environment and the long-term sustainability and viability of stocks,” he said.

 “It adds assurance to the almost nine out of 10 seafood consumers who do not catch their own fish that the seafood products they buy, like sea mullet and crabs, are harvested to the highest quality standards.”

Mr Harrison said applying for full assessment was the first step in a long and painstaking process designed to achieve environmental, social and marketing benefits by meeting the MSC’s benchmarks.

In September 2012, the State Government, in partnership with WAFIC, announced a $14.5 million MSC initiative designed to help every commercial fishery in WA gain independent third-party sustainability certification.

WA’s Exmouth Gulf and Shark Bay Wild prawn fisheries are currently in the process of completing full MSC assessment. A range of other WA fisheries are expected to undergo the process in the near future.

The State’s rock lobster fishery was the first fishery to achieve MSC certification in 2000 and also the first to subsequently be certified three times.