Abrolhos Octopus | Unique to Western Australia

International recognition for WA’s sustainable octopus fishery

Posted on 21 November 2019
Wednesday, 20 November 2019
  • WA at the forefront in fisheries management to meet increasing global demand for certified, ecologically sustainable seafood
  • Certification is good news for restaurants and consumers who love octopus
  • Tomorrow is World Fisheries Day, a day to highlight importance of healthy ocean ecosystems and to ensure sustainable fishing stocks around the world

Western Australia’s octopus fishery has become the State’s ninth fishery to receive international certification for sustainable management of the resource.

The Octopus Interim Managed Fishery achieved the MSC certification this month – having demonstrated environmentally sustainable and effective management practices.

MSC is the world’s leading science-based standard and eco-labelling program for wild capture fisheries. Rigorous traceability standards provide assurance to buyers, retailers and consumers that seafood carrying the eco-label meets internationally recognised standards for environmental sustainability.

The McGowan Government supported the fishery to achieve certification, and scientists at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will further assist with the first annual surveillance audit.

Targeted octopus fishing first commenced in WA in 2001 and innovative fishing techniques have led to the development of the commercial fishery – including the establishment of formal management arrangements for the octopus resource.

Each year, more than 300 tonnes of octopus is caught commercially in WA with the majority of the commercial octopus fished from the west coast off Geraldton and Fremantle.

Western Australia has the most MSC certified fisheries in Australia. They include Western Australian Rock Lobster; Exmouth Gulf prawn; Shark Bay prawn; Peel-Harvey Estuarine commercial and recreational blue swimmer crab; Peel-Harvey Estuarine commercial sea mullet; the Australian West Coast deep-sea crab fishery; the West Coast Silver lipped pearl fishery; WA abalone fishery; and Octopus Interim Managed Fishery.

Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly:

“WA is a global leader in sustainable fisheries management and we are striving for continuous improvement across our fisheries, which is good news for restaurants and consumers who love seafood.

“With the Government’s backing, the operators of the octopus fishery have completed a very thorough process to demonstrate their compliance with the MSC standard including a formal harvest strategy.

“The fishery has a bright future. It is continuing to develop markets and refine its fishing practices including trialling new innovative baited trap designs to grow the industry while ensuring ongoing sustainability of the octopus resource.”

Comments attributed to Agricultural Region MLC Darren West:

“Congratulations to the octopus fishery on their accreditation.

“Sustainable fisheries are good for our local economy and provide local jobs.”

Minister’s office – 6552 6100