International recognition for WA’s sustainable octopus fishery

International recognition for WA’s sustainable octopus fishery

Western Australia’s octopus fishery has become the State’s ninth fishery to receive international certification for sustainable management of the resource.

The Octopus Interim Managed Fishery achieved the MSC certification this month – having demonstrated environmentally sustainable and effective management practices.

MSC is the world’s leading science-based standard and eco-labelling program for wild capture fisheries. Rigorous traceability standards provide assurance to buyers, retailers and consumers that seafood carrying the eco-label meets internationally recognised standards for environmental sustainability.

The McGowan Government supported the fishery to achieve certification, and scientists at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will further assist with the first annual surveillance audit.

Targeted octopus fishing first commenced in WA in 2001 and innovative fishing techniques have led to the development of the commercial fishery – including the establishment of formal management arrangements for the octopus resource.

Each year, more than 300 tonnes of octopus is caught commercially in WA with the majority of the commercial octopus fished from the west coast off Geraldton and Fremantle.

Western Australia has the most MSC certified fisheries in Australia. They include Western Australian Rock Lobster; Exmouth Gulf prawn; Shark Bay prawn; Peel-Harvey Estuarine commercial and recreational blue swimmer crab; Peel-Harvey Estuarine commercial sea mullet; the Australian West Coast deep-sea crab fishery; the West Coast Silver lipped pearl fishery; WA abalone fishery; and Octopus Interim Managed Fishery.

“WA is a global leader in sustainable fisheries management and we are striving for continuous improvement across our fisheries, which is good news for restaurants and consumers who love seafood,” said Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly.

“With the Government’s backing, the operators of the octopus fishery have completed a very thorough process to demonstrate their compliance with the MSC standard including a formal harvest strategy.

“The fishery has a bright future. It is continuing to develop markets and refine its fishing practices including trialling new innovative baited trap designs to grow the industry while ensuring ongoing sustainability of the octopus resource.”

Agricultural Region MLC Darren West congratulated the octopus fishery on their accreditation.

“Sustainable fisheries are good for our local economy and provide local jobs.”

State Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk said, “If there’s one thing we love more than some local occy in Freo, it’s knowing that our seafood is sustainable.

“Sustainable fisheries ensure that we’re looking after our oceans, and that our local economy will continue to benefit from fishing for generations to come.”