Austral Fisheries as NORMAC Member
The Northern Prawn Fishery was certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as a sustainable and well managed fishery in November 2012. Woolworths generously contributed $25,000 towards the MSC certification through their Fresh Food Future grant, and this fishery becomes the first tropical prawn fishery to be certified as sustainable in the world. MSC certified sustainable Banana Prawns and Tiger Prawns can be found from this fishery in your local Woolworths seafood cabinet.
Austral Fisheries are members of the Northern Prawn Fishery Management Advisory Committee (NORMAC), which is an advisory body to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). NORMAC is dedicated to maintaining the sustainability of the Northern Prawn Fishery and has a strong history in the area of responsible and pro-active action in fisheries management.
Austral Fisheries support environmental fishing practices and and such have fully supported the compulsory introduction of Bycatch Reduction Devices that apply to all prawn trawlers operating in the Northern Prawn Fishery. The most significant of these are Turtle Excluder Devices. A grid is attached to the net which deflects turtles to an escape opening. This prevents them from being caught in the end of the net. Other larger marine species such as stingrays and sharks, also benefit from the introduction of these devices.
Other devices are also being trialled to further enhance our efforts to reduce the incidental catch of bycatch species to prawns. These initiatives are the culmination of years of commitment to research, development and rigorous sea trials of methods all aimed at maximisation of the catch of our target species.
The video below was produced with our resident netmaker in Cairns, Neville, in conjunction with WWF – showing some of the steps we have taken to reduce any unnecessary bycatch in our nets to a minimum.