Australia’s first yellowfin tuna to turn blue

A family-run business, Walker Seafoods, on the Sunshine Coast, is leading the way by becoming the first Australian fishing business to receive the independent Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for their sustainable fishing of tuna and swordfish.

Walker Seafoods’ catch of yellowfin, albacore and swordfish will become the first tuna and swordfish caught in Australia to receive the world-renowned MSC blue tick of sustainability.

Heidi Walker of Walker Seafoods is excited about the opportunities and new markets the MSC certification will open up for the Australian company.

“We’re a family business and we’re passionate about keeping the marine environment healthy so that we can keep fishing for generations to come. With the MSC blue ecolabel we can now scientifically prove that we’re doing our bit to keep fish populations and marine ecosystems healthy,” said Mrs Walker.

“Achieving the MSC standard will open up new markets for us in Europe where demand for MSC is high and will also help feed the growing demand for sustainable and transparent sources of seafood in Australia.”

Asia Pacific Director of MSC, Patrick Caleo is celebrating the fishery’s commitment and efforts to achieving the standard.

“With Walker Seafoods achieving the MSC standard, Australians can now enjoy locally caught and globally certified sustainable tuna and swordfish for the first time in this part of the world,” said Mr Caleo.

Operating a line-caught fleet in the AFMA managed Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery  Walker Seafoods has undergone a third-party independent assessment, where a team of scientists examined every aspect of the fishery for a 12 to 18 month period.

“Congratulations to Walker Seafoods for stepping up and adding this extra layer of confidence for consumers in verifying their sustainability credentials with this scientific and rigorous assessment process” said Mr Caleo.

“Chefs want fresh, local and sustainable products and MSC certification gives them the confirmation that the sustainability of what they serve is backed up by meticulous scientific evidence. Yellowfin, albacore and swordfish are species that chefs love to work with, and Aussies love to eat. Walker’s certification opens up a new range of sustainable options for Australia’s forward thinking chefs and restaurateurs.”

Walker Seafoods now joins the ranks of 10% of the world’s wild-capture fisheries that are MSC certified and joins seven other Australian fisheries that can proudly use the MSC ecolabel.

MSC’s global standard for sustainable fishing is based on three core principles:
1.      Healthy population of fish
2.      Reduced impact on marine ecosystems
3.      Effective management systems of the fishery

MSC certified fisheries are continually monitored and must complete annual surveillance audits as well as being reassessed every 5 years. More than 570 improvements to fishing practises and environmental management have been identified with fisheries in the MSC program.