Project number: 2013-038
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $63,939.00
Principal Investigator: Rick Fletcher
Organisation: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) WA
Project start/end date: 30 Sep 2013 - 29 Jun 2014


The Government of WA, in collaboration with industry, has initiated an ambitious program to have all commercial fisheries in Western Australia undergo MSC certification. All commercial fisheries will undergo pre-assessment by the end of 2014. Any fishery that chooses to undergo full MSC assessment will have the initial certification costs funded which will begin in 2014. A number of issues have arisen during the establishment of this process that need to be addressed prior to the end of the pre-assessment process and especially before many fisheries move to full assessment.

Direct experience with MSC assessment process for the rock lobster fishery, plus reviews of the MSC process (MRAG, 2011) have shown that once initial ‘scores’ or opinions have been established for a fishery, these scores and opinions strongly dictate the outcome and the subsequent level of conditions established for the fishery to either gain or maintain certification. In going from pre to full assessments, the scores may go down, but almost never go up (MRAG, 2011). Lower scores that require undertaking activities to ‘close off’ conditions, especially for Principle 2 (ecological) criteria is where the costs of MSC certification can become prohibitive These costs can be significantly greater than the direct MSC assessment or audit costs; for rock lobster this has run into many $millions. It is essential, therefore, that the number of 'unecessary' conditions, particularly those requiring collection of more information (which is the most common condition applied, MRAG, 2011) are minimised to avoid unnecessary costs for industry and government.

An additional complexity is the Fishery Standard Review (FSR) currently being undertaken by MSC. This has proposed changes for P1 and P2 whcih could significantly alter how we approach MSC assessments and therefore need to directly test the impacts of these proposed changes.


1. Increase the efficiency of generating submissions for MSC assessments.
2. Minimise the likelihood of unnecessary conditions being imposed during MSC assessments

Final report

ISBN: 978-1-877098-45-1
Author: Rick Fletcher

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