Western Australia's rock lobster fishery has been recognised for leading the world in sustainability certification.
The fishery was the very first in the world to be certified as ecologically sustainable by the London-based Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and this week in Brussels the fishery received an award for 15 years of continuous certification.
"This is an outstanding achievement for our lobster industry which, more than 15 years ago, had the foresight to realise that third party fisheries certification would play a vital role in the global seafood trade," Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said.
"Our premium quality Western rock lobster, fished from pristine waters off our coast, was the first seafood product in the world certified to meet the rigorous MSC standard.
"We led the world in adopting the MSC's chain of custody certification system which allows seafood consumers to see if the fish they buy comes from ecologically sustainable, well-managed fisheries."
Mr Baston said that today fisheries certified by the program catch 8.8 million tonnes of seafood per year, accounting for close to 10 per cent of the total global wild-capture production.
The award marking the 15 years of certification was presented to the industry and the WA Department of Fisheries at the Seafood Expo Global in Brussels, the world's largest seafood trade event.
The Minister said the State Government's $14.5 million certification fund established in 2012 had led to almost all of WA's commercial fisheries being pre-assessed under the MSC standard and several were currently undergoing full assessment.
"I congratulate everyone in our lobster industry; the Western Rock Lobster Council, commercial fishers, processors and exporters, as well as our scientists and fisheries managers in the Department of Fisheries who have worked closely to ensure our certification is maintained," he said.
The MSC was established in 1999 by the World Wide Fund for Nature and Unilever
Globally 255 fisheries are MSC certified with more than 100 currently in assessment to the MSC Standard
The Western rock lobster fishery was certified in February 2000 and has been re-certified twice since
About 250 boats fish for Western rock lobster and in 2013-14 the total allowable commercial catch was 5,554 tonnes with an export value of $358 million
Minister's office - 6552 5400