Western Australia's MSC Plan for fisheries


28 August 2015


Consumers of quality gems will have added confidence when purchasing exquisite Australian South Sea Pearls following the industry’s push to obtain Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification.

Pearl Producers Association Executive Officer Aaron Irving confirmed today that the Australian South Sea pearling industry of Western Australia and the Northern Territory had entered the full MSC assessment process.

Using the opening day of Broome’s Shinju Matsuri Festival – that celebrates the unique role of pearls in Broome’s history – Mr Irving said the decision to enter full assessment in the world’s most rigorous fishery benchmarking process was not made lightly.

“Moving to MSC full assessment was decision carefully considered by pearl producers and taken to ensure consumers in our global market know they are making the best environmental choice when buying Australian South Sea pearls,” he said.

“The MSC’s full assessment is an independent, scientific process that will take a least a year.

“But at the end of the process, when consumers are wearing MSC certified  Australian South Sea Pearls, they will know their pearl came from a wild fishery operating to the highest standards of environmental and sustainability management.”

Mr Irving said Australia’s South Sea pearling industry was supplied by pearl oyster shell harvested from the world’s last remaining wild stock of Pinctada maxima shell.

The P. maxima pearl shell is hand-harvested to strict size and quota limits from the wild shell stock along WA’s Pilbara and Kimberley coast. The shells are then seeded for pearl production and grown-out on pearl farm leases between The Exmouth Gulf and Coburg Perninsula.

Careful handling of the shells means their productive lifespans can range up to 10 years.

Mr Irving said that when MSC certification was achieved, producers of Australian South Seas Pearls would be eligible to use the MSC eco-label on products of pearl shell, pearl oyster meat and gems.

“The Pearl Producers Association acknowledges the support of the Western Australian Government and particularly that of the Minister of Fisheries, Ken Baston who made our exciting announcement today in Broome.”

WA Fisheries Minister, Ken Baston and Pearl Producers Association CEO, Aaron Irving, in Broome for the announcement.

MEDIA RELEASE - Ken Baston, WA Fisheries Minister




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