WA’s seafood industry just took another giant leap forward as a world leader in ethical and sustainable fishing. So, if you love your seafood and believe in ethical and sustainable fishing, it’s time to celebrate with some fresh octopus and a glass of chardonnay.
In November, the southwest octopus fishery received the Marine Stewardship Council Certification. This is the Rolls Royce award of the fishing industry and reflects the highest level of sustainability a fishery can have. It’s something of which all West Australians should be enormously proud.
Certification involves more than 15-months of rigorous assessment by an independent third-party to ensure the fishery is sustainable and ethical, so it’s no wonder WA is only the second octopus fishery in the world to attain MSC certification.
To be sustainable often requires a radical change in operations and significant innovation, such as the invention of the octopus trigger trap, which is now used across the whole fishery. Fishers also have to demonstrate special consideration for sensitive marine species including humpback whales during migration and protecting vulnerable marine ecosystems.
Now certified, the fishery is eligible to carry the MSC’s characteristic blue tick logo providing assurance to seafood buyers and consumers worldwide that the seafood is fully traceable back to a sustainable fishery.
Doing your bit for the environment
If you love seafood and the environment, then show your support for local sustainable fisheries and as much as possible, source local product with the blue MSC tick.
Western Australian octopus comes from the pristine waters of WA, ranging from Shark Bay to the South Australian border. In addition to keeping food-miles to a minimum, you can rest safe that the environment and the species is in safe hands. That’s simply not the case for imported seafood, with many world fisheries on the brink of disaster.
The octopus fishery is not alone. In WA there are nine certified fisheries, putting Western Australia in front as global leaders for sustainability and the protection of marine ecosystems. The growing list of MSC certified fisheries includes South sea pearl, abalone, western rock lobster, deep sea crab, Mandurah sea-mullet, Peel-Harvey blue swimmer crab and Shark Bay & Exmouth Gulf prawns.
MSC certification in WA began in 2012 as part of a $14.5 million partnership between WAFIC, the peak body for the fishing industry in WA, and the State Government, with the view of making WA a global leader in sustainability. In the words of Alex Ogg, head of WAFIC: “It’s part of a serious commitment to sustainability and to ensure stock is available for future generations.”
For a list of brands and stockists with the blue tick, head to: https://www.msc.org/en-au/what-you-can-do/where-to-buy-sustainable-seafood
Images: Marine Stewardship Council; Western Australian Fishing Industry
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