- Certifier :
- Lloyds Register (Acoura)
- Certified status :
- Certified since :
- 09 Dec 2019
- Certificate expires :
- 08 Jun 2025
The Western Australia Sea Cucumber fishery was the world’s first sea cucumber fishery to be certified to the Marine Stewardship Council’s global standard for a well-managed and sustainable fishery.
The fishery operates off the Western Australia coastline and catches two species of sea cucumber, the deep-water redfish (Actinopyga echinites) and sand fish (Holothuria scabra). Products are harvested, processed and marketed by Tasmanian Seafoods to Singapore, the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong SAR and Taiwan Province.
Speaking about the MSC certification on 10 December 2019, of the Western Australian sea cucumber fishery, Mark Webster, CEO for Tasmanian Seafoods, said: “Western Australia sea cucumber is hand-harvested in remote and pristine waters, so there are very few interactions with the ocean floor and none with threatened or endangered species. Due to hand harvesting, the fishery has no incidental bycatch. We believe these conditions lead to a world-leading quality product.
The certified fishery was independently assessed to the 28 principles for sustainable fishing set out in the MSC Fisheries Standard by auditors, Lloyd’s Register.
Commenting on the assessment, Polly Burns, Interim Fisheries and Aquaculture Operations Manager at Lloyd’s Register, said: “The Western Australia Sea Cucumber fishery has demonstrated healthy populations of both its species of sea cucumbers. The impact of the hand gathering fishing method on the surrounding environment and the management of the fishery all meet the required scoring levels to achieve MSC certification. We are pleased that this outcome represents a world first for MSC certified sea cucumbers and look forward to continuing to report the fishery’s progress at annual surveillance audits.”
More about ‘ocean cleaning’ sea cucumber
Over 1,400 species of sea cucumber are said to exist with at least seventy of these being commercially exploited in what is now a multi-billion-dollar trade. Nearly 80 per cent of sea cucumber exports globally are destined for Hong Kong SAR where they are then re-exported into mainland China and sold, typically as a dried product known as bêche de mer.
Sea cucumbers predominantly feed on organic marine waste and excrete vital nutrients for the marine environment.
Read the blog ‘Why ocean cleaning sea cucumber is worth protecting’ to find out more.