Hon Ken Baston MLC

Hon Ken Baston MLC

Former Minister for Agriculture and Food; Fisheries

    WA pearls seek world-first sustainability tick

    28/08/2015 11:45 AM
    • Pinctada maxima pearls are known for their smoothness, lustre and large size

    Western Australia's pearl oyster fishery is seeking a world-first sustainability certification, Fisheries Minister Ken Baston announced today.


    In Broome ahead of the opening of the Shinju Matsuri: Festival of the Pearl, Mr Baston congratulated licensees in WA's pearl oyster fishery for entering the full assessment phase for independent certification as a sustainable fishery.


    "The State's pearl oyster fishery, which focuses on the silver-lipped pearl oyster Pinctada maxima, is now on track to become the first pearl fishery in the world to obtain the Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) internationally recognised eco-label," he said.


    "In recent years, the fishery's Australian South Sea pearls and by-products have earned in excess of $60 million annually, with many prized pearls being exported all over the world."


    The Minister said the Pearl Producers Association and the Department of Fisheries would work closely in the assessment process, with a view to obtaining certification towards the end of 2016.


    "We may very well be one of the more isolated places in the world, but we have proven to be world leaders in sustainable fisheries management," he said.


    "In 2000, WA's western rock lobster fishery became the very first of any fishery in the world to be MSC-accredited and it has maintained its sustainability certification ever since.


    "The State Government's investment of $14.5 million to help other WA fisheries seek the same accreditation is seeing ongoing benefits, with nearly all having undergone pre-assessment and five fisheries presently in the MSC full assessment process.


    "MSC's science-based standard is recognised internationally as the gold standard in independent, third-party certification."


    Mr Baston said the MSC assessment process would require a joint approach given the pearling industry extended into areas under Northern Territory jurisdiction.


    Fact File

    • WA has the world's only remaining significant wild-catch fishery for pearls
    • Pearl oyster fishery of WA stretches from Exmouth Gulf to the NT border
    • For more information, visit http://www.wamsc.com.au/

    Minister's office - 6552 5400