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Austral Fisheries & the road to carbon neutrality

As a partner within the Maruha Nichiro Group since 2013, Austral Fisheries is a leading Australian sustainable fishing brand, backed by value, strength, and eco-conscious practices. In 2016, Austral Fisheries became the first fishing company in the world to receive carbon neutral certification and their story is one of a long-standing commitment to consumers, the environment, and the continual development of the fishing industry. They also played a strong hand in saving the Patagonian Toothfish from poachers by collaborating with government agencies, conservation groups, and other legitimate fishers to shut down illegal Toothfish fishing operations.

Austral’s story of sustainable fishing begins in 1997 when they became one of the first fishing companies in the world to sign up to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Under the belief that science, conservation, and sustainability were at the heart of their business, Austral led the change the fishing industry needed to become a force of good for our oceans. By 2013, their icefish, toothfish and prawn fisheries were all certified as sustainable and well managed by the MSC.

But, Austral didn’t stop there. They wanted to take sustainability to the next level by becoming completely carbon neutral. Carbon neutrality is more than just a title. It’s an ongoing process of checks, measurements, reporting, and observations to ensure Austral Fisheries achieves a net-zero carbon footprint every year. This is done by offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions released by all aspects of their business through the purchase of carbon credits. In Austral’s case, their total carbon footprint was 32,225 t CO2-e in 2017, which was offset through carbon credits certified by the Gold Standard Foundation in the form of a native biodiverse revegetation project in the Western Australian wheat belt. To offset 100% of Austral’s emissions, over 200,000 trees must be planted each year.

Keeping fishing operations a viable, sustainable business for future generations, sometimes means action must be taken to prevent further endangerment or illegal practices. Which is exactly what happened when Austral Fisheries stepped in to save the Patagonian Toothfish.

Over a decade ago, Patagonian Toothfish became the target of poachers and illegal fishing. Toothfish are relatively slow to mature, which makes them susceptible to overfishing, if not managed correctly. At one point, illegal Toothfish catches were higher than legal ones, but in time, actions by government authorities, conservation groups, and the legal industry, brought these illegal fishing vessels to justice, and illegal toothfish fishing has since ceased.

Today, Austral’s Patagonian Toothfish is MSC certified as sustainable and well managed. The product has gained recognition from conservation groups and seafood chooser programs across the globe.

Austral Fisheries’ premier product, Glacier 51 toothfish, is sold in top restaurants throughout the world. It’s a success story that proves fish can be sustainable, carbon neutral, and completely delicious.

York gum at Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor
York gum now at waist height
Patagonian Tooth Fish

July, 2018

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