For decades we’ve made deliberate decisions to ensure that all aspects of our fishing and trading operations are as environmentally sustainable as possible, ensuring a secure future for our company, our employees, our customers and of course, our fisheries.
The world’s population is 7 billion people and growing. Collectively, we must find ways to feed those people and supply healthy, nutritious sources of protein to our customers.
Wild caught fish are a naturally regenerating resource of high-quality protein. If we allow them to reproduce and grow in a clean marine environment and protect the ecosystems they live in, then we can continue to catch fish forever. That’s the future of our business and we have a strong vested interest in ensuring our own survival, by caring for the health of our oceans and the marine species that inhabit them.
Our commitment to sustainability is based on science and realised through decisive actions, not just words.
Austral was the first, and is currently the only commercial fishing company in the world to be certified as Carbon Neutral. This means we plant native trees in Australia to offset all our carbon emissions, and this is independently verified and certified by the Australian Government.
Being carbon neutral makes our staff incredibly proud to work for Austral, it helps differentiate and enhance the value of our branded products and it contributes towards tackling the challenges of global climate change. Carbon neutrality is sustainable and its good business. It’s good for our people, our products and our planet.
Austral continues to collaborate with a range of stakeholders in the fishing industry, including global fishing industry coalitions, inter-governmental agencies and eNGOs on a range of topics, including best practice fisheries management, science to support fisheries management, and contemporary environmental and compliance issues.
We’ve invested heavily in new fishing gear that substantially reduces by-catch (untargeted species unintentionally caught during fishing) thus reducing our impact on a wide range of threatened marine species and seabirds. Healthy marine ecosystems rely on a delicate balance of species inter-dependence. If we interrupt that balance (whether intentionally or not) we threaten the health of the entire ecosystem and the sustainability of our business.
We have invested over $40 million to develop and build a new fishing vessel for our Southern Ocean fleet.
The new vessel, F/V Cape Arkona, will be the most advanced, efficient and versatile fishing vessel of its type in the world. Cape Arkona is expected to join our Southern Ocean fleet in 2020, replacing one of our older and less efficient vessels. Cape Arkona will be configured to operate long-lines, trawling and potting, and this unique configuration makes the vessel incredibly versatile.
Innovative new engine and gearbox design will substantially reduce fuel consumption, making it possible for the Cape Arkona to stay at sea longer, travel further and require fewer trips to port for refuelling. This helps to substantially reduce our carbon emissions and our operating costs. The Cape Arkona is a new generation of fishing vessel, built to embody the core values of our business and our focus on sustainability.
At Austral Fisheries, we believe in sustainable seafood, and this comes from taking care of our fisheries that we operate in so that they remain healthy and viable for future generations. That is why we have actively sought out what we believe to be the gold standard in independent fishery certification, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), and put our fisheries up to the test.
Our four major Australian fisheries that we operate in have been certified by the MSC as sustainable and well managed fisheries. These are:
In 2016 we made the decision to take our sustainability commitment to the next level. We recognised that while we were doing so much great work in maintaining and improving the sustainability of our fisheries and the fish that we catch, we were simultaneously consuming a large amount of diesel fuel; in the ballpark of 9 million litres. Something had to be done, and so we took the next step in our sustainability journey. We’re proud to say that since 2016, we’ve been certified as carbon neutral as an organisation, and for the wild capture fish and prawn products we catch and sell, all the way from ocean to plate.
Carbon neutrality, or having no carbon footprint, refers to achieving a net zero carbon emission by balancing the amount of carbon released from our business, with an equivalent amount sequestered, or offset.
For further detail, please see our Carbon Neutral Media Pack: