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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Monday 14 December 2020

Gold standard for world-class Exmouth and Shark Bay prawns

    • ​Independent certification via the Marine Stewardship Council is best practice globally
    • More than 90 percent of WA's fishery value comes from our 10 MSC-certified fisheries
    • The McGowan Government's COVID relief package has funded re-certification costs

Western Australia has enhanced its reputation as a global leader in commercial fishing.

Five years after achieving the world's gold standard in independent certification, WA's two biggest prawn fisheries have again received Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-ticks, confirming they're being managed effectively and operating sustainably.

Re-certification for the Shark Bay and Exmouth Gulf prawn fisheries follows a successful assessment process under revised Marine Stewardship Council's standards, which recently raised the bar for fisheries world-wide.

The Exmouth Gulf Prawn Fishery that catches western king, brown tiger and blue endeavour prawns is operated by the MG Kailis Group, while there are seven companies involved in the Shark Bay Prawn Fishery and they focus on the popular western king and brown tiger prawns.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development's scientists work closely with licence holders to evaluate the optimal time to harvest the prawns each year. This year Shark Bay fishers operated from April to September and Exmouth Gulf from April to November. 

Apart from these prawn fisheries, the other WA fisheries with MSC eco-ticks are Western rock lobster, Peel Harvey Estuary's blue swimmer crab and sea mullet, West Coast deep sea crab and WA abalone, silver-lipped oyster, sea cucumber and octopus. Knocking on the door is the Abrolhos Islands scallop trawl fishery, which is currently being assessed for MSC certification.   

Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley:

"Commercial fishing is a critical part of the Western Australian economy and having 10 MSC-certified fisheries enhances our reputation globally as a leader in this industry.

"These prawn fisheries are collectively worth more than $35 million, providing jobs in Regional WA and serving quality seafood to markets locally, in the Eastern States and internationally.

"The McGowan Government embraces seafood sustainability and our COVID relief package for WA's fisheries in the MSC program, is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure we continue creating jobs and growth to diversify our economy.

"I congratulate the fishers and companies involved in the Exmouth Gulf and Shark Bay prawn fisheries for meeting the higher benchmarks for ecosystem impacts, which were set in their assessment for re-certification against the new, more demanding, MSC standards.

"Passing an assessment with no conditions is a first for WA and a significant achievement that gives our iconic WA prawn fisheries five more years of MSC certification, ensuring consumer confidence across local, interstate and export markets."

Minister's office - 6552 5300

Last modified: 14/12/2020 4:27 PM

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