Global leaders in innovative, sustainable lobster management


Marine Stewardship Council

The Western Australian Rock Lobster fishery was the first fishery in the world to be certified as ecologically sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in 2000 in recognition of the high environmental values and sustainable practices maintained by industry members.

Industry has worked hard to hold its accreditation ever since and WA’s western rock lobster fishery is now celebrating the 20th anniversary of its certification – a huge industry benchmark for sustainable fishing practices.

The MSC is the world’s most respected independent fisheries sustainability certification standard which reviews the fishery based on stock assessment and harvest strategy, the impact of the fishery on the wider ecology and management and consultation arrangements.

At the West Coast Rock Lobster Management Meeting in June 2017 Fisheries Minister, the Honourable Dave Kelly congratulated everyone involved in WA’s rock lobster industry for continuing to provide a world-leading fishery that gives the State a positive international reputation.

The MSC recertification showcases the fishery’s commitment to sustainable practices. Third-party accreditation is becoming increasingly important in our industry as it differentiates our product from others on the market. The fishery has adapted and evolved to face new and existing challenges and demonstrates willingness to mitigate against negative environmental interactions. Using the MSC Framework, our fishery continues to monitor, respond and innovate.

Click here to download the Fisheries Minister’s media statement.

For more information about MSC please visit WAMSC.


Whale Entanglement Mitigation

Using the MSC framework to drive down adverse environmental interactions, the fishery has adapted and evolved to face new and existing challenges and demonstrates our willingness to mitigate against negative environmental interactions.

One of these challenges was how we would reduce increasing interactions between whales and fishing gear and help the recovering humpback whale populations.  A response was needed and the industry delivered.

Whale entanglements increased with the move to quota management, peaking in 2013 with 17 reported entanglements in western rock lobster fishing gear. The significant social and ethical concerns around these entanglements prompted two collaborative Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) research projects between industry and government. These led to the introduction of gear modifications in 2014, which has seen a reduction in entanglements.

In what was considered to be a world first, mitigation measures required fishers to remove slack from pot ropes, reduce the number of floats, avoid having pots in clusters, and minimise fishing in know migration pathways.

Gear modifications are estimated to have reduced entanglements of whales in western rock lobster gear by about 66%, with two and four entanglements recorded in the 2015 and 2016 seasons respectively. However, with an increasing whale population migrating through the fishery each year, a continued collaborative approach between industry and government to mitigate these entanglements is critical.

Our Western Rock Lobster fishery continues to monitor, respond and innovate to reduce whale entanglements to as low as they can possibly be in the waters off Western Australia.

Click here to download our Code of Practice for Reducing Whale Entanglements.

Please report any sick or injured whales to the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.