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Oz Deep Sea Crab fishery gets MSC certified

Staff Writer |
Western Australia’s Deep Sea Crab fishery is the latest of the state’s 47 commercial fisheries to gain Marine Stewardship Council certification for sustainable management.

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Western Australian Fishing Industry Council’s (WAFIC) CEO John Harrison said the deep sea crab fishers’ push to gain MSC certification demonstrated growing traction of the State Government’s AUS$14.5 million MSC initiative.

“It is extremely satisfying to see the Deep Sea Crab fishery join WA’s Western Rock Lobster fishery, Exmouth Gulf and Shark Bay prawn fisheries, the Peel Harvey Blue Swimmer Crab and sea mullet fisheries and the Macquarie and Heard Island Patagonian toothfish fishery in achieving MSC certification,” Mr Harrison said.

WA’s Deep Sea Crab fishery harvested three specific types of crustacean: Crystal (or Snow) crab, Giant (or King) crab and Champagne crab.

The state’s Deep Sea Crab Fishery involves three vessels supporting seven licenses to harvest Crystal crabs and it stretches from Augusta to the Northern Territory border. Crabs are generally caught at depths of more than 600m and are delivered live to both domestic and overseas markets.

The Chinese market takes up to 30% of the total Crystal crab catch (mainly the smaller crab sizes), while the Perth market takes most of the very large crystal crab for the Chinese restaurant market. The remainder is sold on the eastern seaboard.

Harrison said WA’s Western Rock Lobster Fishery was the world’s first to achieve MSC certification in 2000 and also the first fishery to subsequently be certified three times.

A range of other WA fisheries are expected to undergo the full MSC assessment process in the near future, including the wild catch abalone fishery and both Pilbara and Kimberley trap fisheries.

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