Western Rock Lobster fishery achieves world leading fifth certification to MSC Standard for seafood sustainability

  • The Western Rock Lobster fishery was the first fishery in the world to be certified to the Marine Stewardship Council’s international benchmark for ecological sustainability in 2000. 
  • A Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification demonstrates that a fishery meets international best practices for sustainable fishing.
  • Industry celebrates 22 continuous years of MSC certification and an ongoing commitment to sustainable fishing.
  • Western Rock Lobster fishery is the first fishery in the world to be certified to the MSC Fisheries Standard for a fifth successive time. 


Western Rock Lobster fishery is celebrating 22 years of MSC certification following the announcement of its fifth successful assessment, on 29 November 2022.

In 2000, WA’s Western Rock Lobster fishery became the first fishery in the world to achieve the preeminent independent sustainability certification standard for sustainable fishing set by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

The MSC Fisheries Standard is used to assess if a fishery is well-managed and sustainable. The Standard reflects the most up-to-date understanding of internationally accepted science and management. To become certified, a fishery must show that the stock it targets is healthy, that it minimises its impact on the environment and other species and that it has effective resource management in place.

“The MSC is a third-party certification body that requires a fishery to meet very stringent standards to remain certified. The western rock lobster fishery is world famous for its level of research and sustainability” said Dr. Simon de Lestang, Principal Research Scientist, Fisheries at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

Since its first certification in 2000, the fishery has moved to quota which has seen several environmental benefits, including the building of stocks to record levels, reductions in whale interactions, improved management of bycatch, and major reductions in the fuel and bait used to catch an increasing number of lobsters.

Matt Taylor, CEO of the Western Rock Lobster Council commented: “The fact that the Western Rock Lobster fishery has retained this prestigious certification for 22 years speaks to an enduring partnership between industry and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. WRL and DPIRD work collaboratively to manage the fishery through an integrated fishery co-management approach.”

“Relationships are vital for how the fishery has evolved, matured, and is increasingly well-managed. We work very closely with industry and government to ensure effective two-way communication that facilitates the best outcomes for the resource, industry, and community.”

“This fishery has proven time and time again it’s one of the world’s best-managed fisheries, both economically and ecologically”, added Dr de Lestang.

Anne Gabriel, MSC Program Manager for Oceania congratulated the fishery on their re-certification: “Congratulations to the Western Rock Lobster fishery on their fifth successful certification against the MSC’s framework for fisheries sustainability. The western rock lobster fishery is undoubtedly an iconic world leader in sustainability. The western rock lobster fishery continues to thrive with positive ecological and management performances.

For 22 years the Western Rock Lobster fishery has played a leading role in working with government, scientists, and communities to ensure the long-term future of the lobster resource. They continue to contribute to research and to improve their operations in their efforts to achieve best practice.”

Over its 22 MSC-certified years the western rock lobster fishery has shown dedication to the sustainable sourcing of its product – committing to a path of continual improvement to maintain its status and the health of the rock lobster resource.

“This recertification is an important milestone for the fishery and is a clear demonstration of WRL’s sustainability credentials and commitment to sustainable practices.

As long as we have secure access to the resource and we are wise about how we catch, the western rock lobster fishery will continue to deliver benefits to the people of Western Australia for generations to come,” concluded Mr. Taylor.


Western Rock Lobster is Australia’s most valuable single-species wild capture fishery, contributing over $400 million to WA’s economy annually pre-Covid. Driven by family-owned local businesses, the industry remains a key regional employer generating around 1,850 direct and indirect full-time jobs in the fishing, processing, transport, boat building, and tourism industries.

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