Third Party Accreditation

Third party audits are sometimes employed to ensure the governance and performance of an industry meets recognised World’s Best Practice standards and guidelines. Within the seafood industry this strongly relates to ESD requirements.

Background

In 2019, the PFA received funding from the Australian Government (Our Marine Parks Grants program) to support commercial fisheries to plan for and continue to deliver sustainable outcomes around the Temperate East Australian Marine Parks. The PFA believes that good fisheries management will help protect the ecological values of the marine protected areas (MPAs).

Additionally, public confidence in the industry and the fisheries management systems will be increased by seeking endorsement by an independent body. The PFA has chosen the Marine Stewardship Council’s Standard for Sustainable Fisheries (MSC) as the best mechanism for achieving this.

Process

The process of seeking endorsement involves several steps. The first step is a quick check of the fisheries by an independent assessor. The PFA chose local consulting company, Fish Matter Pty Ltd, to do this. -These Pre-Assessment Reports have been prepared for all of the NSW offshore fisheries. Fishers were invited to online briefing sessions to advise on the outcomes of the Pre-Assessment Reports in early 2021.

The Funding enabled only a small number of fisheries to go through the full MSC process.

We have engaged with a third-party Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) who is now responsible for preparing a more comprehensive report that will be released to the public prior to each fishery being granted certification. This gives the public an opportunity to respond to the reports formally.

Please Note:

There is NO COST FOR THE FIRST 5 YEARS of certification to the four qualified applicants (whole fisheries, not individual fishing businesses).

After the first 5 years, the costs of certification will go back through consultation with industry, per fishery, to determine if the specific fishery wants to continue with the certification (whether it created an improved market or enough of a positive social response to justify the ongoing cost of maintaining certification status).

Participation in the full assessment is VOLUNTARY for each fishery

Full assessment: Underway

For more information on the PFA assessment process, please contact Rick Tate at projectofficer@pfai.com.au or call the office at (02) 6652 7374.

PROCESS TIMELINE

Pre-Assessment

3 – 6 month process. A ‘quick’ look at the fishery agaisnt the MSC standard.

Full Assessment

12 – 18 month rigorous review of fishery agaisnt MSC standard. Stakeholder invovement.

MSC Certification

5 – year certification for elligible fisheries, subject to annual surveillance audits.