Australian fisheries overall are well managed. For example Western Australia claims more than 95% of its fisheries are sustainable, and those that are not have rebuilding strategies in place.
However recent national surveys of Australian’s perceptions indicate widespread concern about fisheries management performance and the sustainability of our fisheries. A 2015 Commonwealth Department of Agriculture funded survey concluded “…..current public opinion is ‘thinly’ positive. Benefits like employment are appreciated but potential negatives such as sustainability and overfishing come to mind quickly.”
The Western Australian Government took a bold initiative to assure the public and the markets of the sustainability of WA’s fisheries by promoting third party certification of the state’s fisheries . The certification uses the Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Stewardship Council standards, and the program is now in its fifth year of operation.
This presentation backgrounds the MSC approach and the implementation of the certification process, including several unique qualities of the Western Australian program. Western Australia’s performance is compared with similar overseas initiatives. The presentation concludes with a discussion of the factors influencing Western Australian fisheries to join the program.