A FAMILY-OWNED prawn fishing company has become the first state-managed fishery in Queensland to earn a coveted sustainability accreditation from the Marine Stewardship Council.
The Australian Ocean King Prawn Company (AOKPC), which owns and operates 10 vessels in Queensland’s southern offshore trawl region, primarily targets eastern king prawns for sale in domestic and international markets.
The Marine Stewardship Council, a non-profit organisation that sets global sustainability standards for fishing practices and seafood traceability, certified the business in June.
The certification is a landmark moment for Queensland fisheries, with major market buyers like supermarket chains requiring certification of sustainability when sourcing seafood products.
The certification came after Fisheries Queensland implemented a range of best-practice fishery management measures under its Sustainable Fisheries Strategy, and AOKPC invested in additional assessment and monitoring measures.
The certification caps a big six months for Queensland’s wild-caught prawn sector after a $50,000 State Government grant supported the industry’s Taste the Wild Prawns campaign.
The grant was part of Queensland’s $250,000 Commercial and Charter Fishing Grant Program.
The Australian Council of Prawn Fisheries invested more than $191,000 in the Taste the Wild campaign to support wild prawn fisheries.
The Taste the Wild campaign promoted Australian Wild Prawns on their differentiated qualities – taste and provenance.
The campaign leveraged the industry-owned Love Australian Prawns and Australian Wild Prawns–’More than a Prawn’ campaigns and was funded voluntarily by industry.
Australian Ocean King Prawn Company’s Steve Murphy said the team were very proud to have achieved MSC certification.
“The certification process was a great chance for our company to put procedures in place to assist us in ensuring that our business achieves optimum economic productivity while maintaining sustainable fishing practices,” he said.
“We would not have achieved certification without the assistance and co-operation of DAF, and we look forward to working with the Department in the future towards the goal of unconditional certification.”
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the certification was a win for the industry.
“This certification is a feather in the cap of Queensland seafood industry and shows that sustainable fishing practices are rewarded,” Mr Furner said.
“Consumers are increasingly demanding to know that the great-tasting produce they enjoy is sustainably produced, so I’m thrilled that Fisheries Queensland has supported Australian Ocean King Prawn Company towards this accreditation.
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