The Hon Don Punch BPsych BSocwk MBA MLA, Minister for Disability Services; Fisheries; Seniors and Ageing; Small Business (WA), Media Release, 8 June 2022
Western Australia’s credentials for sustainable fisheries have been further enhanced with the Flinders Bay ‘hatch and catch’ fishery for greenlip abalone earning the Marine Stewardship Council’s tick of approval for certified, sustainable seafood.
Today, on World Oceans Day, the Minister for Fisheries joined representatives from the Western Australia Fishing Industries Council and the Marine Stewardship Council to award Rare Foods Australia (RFA) internationally recognised status as a Wild Sustainable Fishery.
This achievement by RFA, which operates the world’s first abalone ranch near Augusta, becomes another of WA’s sustainable fisheries success stories.
In 2009, the operators began trialling ocean ranching for abalone, which led to the creation of deployable ‘ABITAT’ reefs that are then allowed to colonise with algae, so they can be stocked with hatchery-raised juvenile abalone for growing in the ocean with little interference and no supplemental feeding.
Abalone take two to three years to grow from seed to a marketable size in sustainable conditions overseen with environmentally friendly practices.
Harvests by RFA have been very successful, with a 2020-21 total of 75.9 tonnes of greenlip abalone sent to seafood markets in Australia, as well as Europe and Asia earning valuable export dollars.
Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Don Punch:
“This new Marine Stewardship Council tick of approval for Rare Foods Australia not only highlights Western Australia’s strong commitment to sustainable fisheries, but also what can be achieved through innovation.
“The company has found a unique way to utilise hatchery abalone on specially built reefs in the ocean at Flinders Bay so they can grow with the benefits of nature.
“They have created a world first with their ocean ranching and what better way to celebrate World Oceans Day than to see them awarded international sustainability certification.
“This year we are also celebrating WA’s ten years of commitment to sustainability and the protection of our State’s pristine marine environment through the MSC certification program.”