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Sustainable lobster fishing, fish leather part of Australia’s green push in seafood industry

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“We are on a quota, so we only take a certain amount of crays every year that keeps us sustainable. Fishermen want to be sustainable because it’s our livelihood,” said Mr Mendolia.

It’s a strategy that other fisheries across the country, including western rock lobster fishermen, are trying to adopt.

Things like how much bait and fuel are used are closely monitored, along with yearly catch and size limits in place.

The lobsters are also caught in pots, which has minimal impact on the marine environment compared to bottom trawling, a method that drags large nets across the sea floor.

Fish heads that are typically thrown away, are now used as bait in lobster crates. 

The Western Rock Lobster Council this year celebrated its fifth Marine Stewardship Council accreditation, a world-renowned sustainability certification programme that ensures fisheries are following best practices when it comes to the environment.

The council’s chief executive officer Matt Taylor said: “We actually pay a fair bit of money each year to undertake an audit. So we get an independent auditor to come in and assess the fishery. It’s particularly onerous. We invest in and work in collaboration with the government to make sure that the resource is sustainably managed.”


Australia’s seafood industry is aiming to ensure its survival in the face of freight constraints and Chinese sanctions, setting itself up for a post-pandemic rebound with new trading partners.

Mr Matt Rutter, chief executive officer of Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-Operative, the largest rock lobster exporter in the world, said: “Before the pandemic … over 90 per cent of our product was going into China and that’s simply because they revere the products so much.”

The company was pushed to breaking point when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, due to the dual blow of freight constraints and China’s sanctions.


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