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Australia's First Tuna Fisheries Seek Sustainable MSC Approval

21 March 2014

AUSTRALIA - Australian fisheries are stepping up to the world stage this Sustainable Seafood Day, Friday 21 of March. Walker Seafoods Australia of the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery is seeking the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) blue tick for its Yellowfin tuna, Albacore tuna, swordfish and Mahi Mahi. This will be the first Mahi Mahi in the world and Australia’s first tuna fishery to enter assessment to the MSC sustainable fisheries standard.

Heidi Walker of Walker Seafoods is looking forward to seeing her seafood with the blue tick in restaurants that pride themselves on providing local sustainable seafood.

"We're very excited about entering the MSC certification program as we believe Australia leads the world in sustainable fishing. Our boats will be the first in the southern hemisphere to undergo MSC assessment for Yellowfin Tuna and Swordfish and the only company in the world to assess Mahi Mahi," said Mrs Walker.

“We’re also proud to announce this Sustainable Seafood Day has seen MG Kailis Exmouth Gulf Prawns committing to go under assessment for MSC certification. This would take the number of Australian fisheries engaged in the MSC program to ten, which include Australia’s two most commercially successful fisheries; Western Rock Lobster and Northern Prawns fishery,” said MSC country manager, Patrick Caleo.

Western Australian government initiative offers industry a "secure future"

MG Kailis’ Exmouth Prawns is the first fishery, under the Western Australian Government’s A$14.5 million initiative, to agree to be assessed against the MSC’s sustainability and environmental standard. This initiative will give every commercial Western Australian fishery the opportunity to be independently certified.

"Independent, credible third party MSC certification will provide confidence to seafood consumers that WA’s commercial fisheries deliver sustainable seafood. The State Government’s MSC initiative provides the seafood industry a unique opportunity to ensure a vibrant and secure future,” said Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) CEO, John Harrison.

"Demand for third-party verified sustainably caught seafood is growing and leading retailers and brands are responding. We have around 250 MSC labelled products on supermarket shelves in Australia," said Mr Caleo.

To gain MSC certification, these fisheries must undergo an independent audit to assess whether they reach the MSC’s international standard for a sustainable fishery, which is based on three key principles; viability of target stock, impact on the marine ecosystem and management of the fishery.

Sustainable Seafood Day social media

MSC invites all Australians to share their delicious sustainable seafood dishes, recipes and celebrations of the day on social media. For further information and updates, please visit the Facebook event or use the hashtag #SSD2014 on Twitter and Facebook.

TheFishSite News Desk

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