Oral Presentation Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2017

The role of fishery certification schemes in providing social licence for both industry and Government (#19)

Emily Fisher 1
  1. Department of Fisheries, Perth, WA, Australia

Pressures are growing on fisheries to demonstrate their sustainability and unless they can adequately address perceptions and issues that concern the general public, they may become exposed to criticism that could lead to regulatory restrictions or fishery closures. It is no longer considered sufficient for scientists and managers to focus only on the ecological sustainability of fisheries but they also need to consider the views of the community and other stakeholders. Social licence has become a popular term to describe the level of community acceptance of fisheries, however, mechanisms for successfully gaining and maintaining such licence have not been thoroughly explored.  In Western Australia, an approach has been taken to use independent assessments of fisheries against a globally accepted standard for sustainable fishing to improve public confidence in fisheries and their governance. This talk will focus on the role of fishery certification schemes like the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for providing social licence, both for industry through improving consumer awareness and perceptions, and Government by increasing community trust in science and management. It will specifically explore in which ways the MSC assessment process can facilitate this, and what the implications may be.