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Community support for sustainable fisheries – Finding the right message

Maldive gutting fish
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Where is the value of demonstrating you are fishing sustainably if the message isn’t getting out to those who need to hear it the most? This ‘sustainability message’ is a core concept of how MSC influences change in global fisheries. With this in mind, MSC are heading up to Geraldton in mid-west WA to speak at the Goodness Sustainability and Innovation Festival to talk sustainable fishing and how healthy fisheries help support local communities.

For the past 15 years, the MSC has worked to help transform the fishing industry towards a more sustainable footing. It has done this through market based incentives and with increasing consumer recognition of sustainable fishing practices. To date, over 265 fisheries have achieved MSC certification equating to roughly 11% of global wild capture landings. When a fishery achieves MSC certification, we really need to sing from the rooftops to celebrate this achievement especially when you consider the journey the fishery has taken to meet this level of best practice. Getting that message out to the consumer is key in rewarding fisheries that have demonstrated their sustainability and for incentivising other fisheries to follow suit.

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Stakeholder engagement in an MSC assessment

In light of recent news of the Exmouth Gulf prawn and Shark Bay prawn fisheries entering assessment in Western Australia, informing stakeholders of where and how to engage in the MSC process is key in offering a transparent and fair assessment.

The MSC assessment process for sustainable fishing rightly prides itself on its transparency and the ability for stakeholders to input into the assessment. There are key times where stakeholders can input into an assessment and I’ll use this blog to help summarise where a stakeholder can raise concerns or put forward a positive viewpoint. An assessment of this scale should take around 12-13 months and to ensure comments are taken on board, they have to be raised in a timely manner. The theory is that all stakeholders interested in a fishery are highlighted before the assessment starts to ensure all those that may wish to input into an assessment are aware of the process. But it never hurts to run through things one more time.

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