The move is an exciting development in Australia’s seafood industry and puts Australia at the forefront of global best practice.
The initiative was officially be launched in Perth on Friday 11 March by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop MP.
The announcement by David Carder, Austral Chief Executive Officer that the company will become the first fishing company in the world to be carbon neutral clearly shows Australian fishing businesses and people are committed to the highest level of stewardship.
The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) manager of communications, trade and marketing, Peter Horvat, says Austral’s initiative to be the first carbon neutral fishing company is another example of why Australian fishing and aquaculture is regarded so highly.
“There are a small group of companies and Chief Executive Officer’s who see the global environment in which they operate and who view their role as international custodians and stewards of our marine resources. David Carter and Austral are one, and this initiative will cement their place as a leader globally.”
The carbon neutral initiative will allow Austral to add to its already impressive list of sustainability and social responsibility credentials that represent both good business practice and marketing opportunities. The company has been a long-time supporter of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), and all of its catch comes from MSC-certified fisheries.
Austral operates three vessels in the Southern Ocean and southern Indian Ocean, and 10 refrigerated prawn trawlers in the Northern Prawn Fishery, harvesting about 2400 tonnes of
Patagonian Toothfish and 1800 tonnes of prawns a year. It also produces 27,400 tonnes of
greenhouse gas emissions, or carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), a year.
In order to offset its carbon emissions Austral has partnered with Carbon Neutral Pty Ltd, a business that invests in tree planning to rehabilitate degraded and non-productive farmland on the eastern fringes of WA’s grain belt. It involves planting 180,000 trees (or 140 hectares) a year. The project is part of the 13,135 hectare Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor and native reafforestation initiative developed in conjunction with local stakeholders that will sequester 1.257 million tonnes of carbon.
Austral’s carbon neutral accounting started on 1 January 2016 making it the first fisheries business to be certified for organisation and products under Australia’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS). It will also focus on reducing its carbon footprint by investigating more accurate targeting of fish and innovative approaches to fishing operations.