A Pearler of an opportunity for WA – The first ‘Blue Tick’ in the world for our wild pearl fishery

MSC team with Aaron Irving (left) from the Pearl Producers Association

MSC team with Aaron Irving (left) from the Pearl Producers Association

Consumers have added confidence after WA’s pearl oyster fishery achieved the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) ‘blue tick’ for their sustainable fishing – a first in the world for the wild pearl fishery.

The announcement was made yesterday morning in the River Room at the Old Brewery in front of many guests across the seafood industry. Josie Farrer MLA gave opening remarks congratulating the Australian pearling industry for the wonderful achievement.

“I am really proud to be here to announce in a world first the Australian south sea pearling industry of Western Australia and the Northern Territory have been certified sustainable.

“It is no easy feat and everyone involved should be proud”, she said.

A decision carefully considered by the Pearl Producers Association (PPA), the move to achieve MSC full assessment was taken to ensure consumers in the global market know their pearls come from a wild fishery operating to the highest standards of environmental and sustainability management

The pearl fishery was examined over an 18-month period by a team of independent scientists to determine whether the fishery meets the MSC standard.

Since achieving MSC certification, producers of Australian South Sea Pearls are eligible to use the MSC eco-label on products from the pearl oyster fishery. The industry, the second largest fishery in WA and an important contributor to the WA economy, can now use the MSC label as a unique promotional advantage in competitive markets who seek a high standard and favour sustainably sourced goods.

Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) Chief Executive Officer John Harrison congratulated the pearl fishery’s push to secure third-party sustainability certification.

“It is truly wonderful to see this prized fishery attain MSC certification. They are also the first certified fishery that produces gems.

“The producers of the magnificent south sea pearls, which portray romance and the tropics, will now be able to promote their sustainability to the community and their markets around the globe.

“WAFIC commends the Pearl Producers Association for talking the journey of certification and wish them well for the future”, he said.

In late 2012 WAFIC entered into a formal partnership with the State Government to work towards achieving MSC certification for every single commercial fishery in WA.

The consumer demand for sustainable seafood is growing and so is the industry momentum to achieve the required standards.

The benefits of MSC certification include generating consumer preference for sustainable products in existing markets, access to new markets and for some fisheries, the potential to demand price premiums.

Australian South Sea Pearls is the latest of the 313 commercial fisheries to be awarded MSC certification globally due to their sustainable fishing practices.

Paspaley's Kym Coffey and Josie Farrer MLA

Paspaley’s Kym Coffey and Josie Farrer MLA

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