Press Release

First Recreational Fishery Earns MSC Certification Alongside Commercial Fishery

SCS Presents Certificate to Recipients at Ceremony in Western Australia

Today, the Mandurah Licensed Fishermen's Association (MLFA) and Recfishwest received Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) recognition for the Western Australian Peel Harvey Estuarine Fishery. This is a world’s first side-by-side assessment of a commercial and recreational fishery. The certificate was presented by accredited third-party certifier SCS Global Services (SCS) at a ceremony in Mandurah, Western Australia.

“This precedent-setting certification marks a major milestone in the global effort to harvest seafood sustainably,” said Dr. Sabine Daume, who represents SCS’ for all MSC fishery assessment efforts in Australia and New Zealand. “With increasing pressures on the aquatic ecosystem from climate change, pollution, and overfishing, it is more important than ever that commercial and recreational fishers work jointly to promote responsible fishing.”

MLFA and Recfishwest operate in the Peel Harvey Estuarine, along the Western Australian coastline about 80 kilometers south of Perth. It is estimated that a total of 140-150 metric tonnes of blue swimmer crab (Portunus armatus) is harvested by both commercial and recreational fishers each year in the Peel Harvey Estuarine Fishery. Sea mullet (Mugil cephalus) is commercially harvested only, by gill and haul nets, estimated at 30-50 metric tonnes per year.

The eighteen-month certification process was conducted by SCS’ independent assessment team, which included experts in marine biology, fishery science, and resource management. The process involved extensive review of documentation, stakeholder interviews, and on-site auditing and evaluation of fishery operations against specific MSC performance indicators related to the health of the stock, the impacts on the ecosystem and the management system structures and functions. Stakeholder consultation and public comment processes were included as part of the rigorous MSC assessment. Specific conditions and recommendations were made in the published certification report, and progress to meet these will be monitored annually.

“The MSC process is quite thorough,” said Damien Bell, MLFA president and board member of the Western Australia Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC). “Our membership is deeply committed to sustainable fishing practices, which we view as critical to the longevity of our industry. Our MSC certification demonstrates the depth of this commitment.”

Dr. Andrew Rowland, CEO of Recfishwest, added, “We are especially pleased that recreational fishing has now taken its place alongside commercial fishing operations as part of the solution when it comes to protecting prized fish and seafood species.”

An international not for profit, the MSC is the world’s leading science-based standard and ecolabelling program for wild capture fisheries. Through MSC’s rigorous traceability standard, institutional and organizational buyers, retailers, consumers, and stakeholders are assured that seafood carrying the blue eco label meets internationally recognized standards for environmental sustainability.

About SCS. SCS is a global leader in third-party quality, environmental and sustainability verification, certification, auditing, testing, and standards development. Its programs span a cross-section of industries, recognizing achievements in green building, product manufacturing, food and agriculture, forestry, power generation, retail, and more. SCS was the first independent certification body accredited by ASI to conduct assessments under the Marine Stewardship Council standard, and now certifies fisheries around the world. SCS is a chartered benefit corporation, reflecting its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices.

About MLFA. The Mandurah Licensed Fishermen's Association represents six local family operated fishing businesses that date back 5 generations. The Association has 100% membership by all 11 license holders that harvest blue swimmer crab and sea mullet along with an assortment of other estuarine fin fish under our “Fresh, Local and Sustainable” brand.

About Recfishwest. Recfishwest is a non-profit, community based organisation that strives to ensure high quality recreational fishing experiences are maintained and enjoyed, as an integral part of the Western Australia lifestyle. It represents the interests of 740,000 recreational fishers in Western Australia.

SCS Media Contact

Linda Brown

Senior Vice President