11 Mar 2016


An Australian company will become the first-ever international fishing operator to go carbon neutral in their wild caught fisheries by purchasing trees in Southwest Australia and restoring valuable land for Aussie wildlife in the process.

WWF today welcomed a commitment by Austral Fisheries to offset the carbon pollution from their global operations by purchasing carbon credits from Australia’s only Gold Standard project – a 10,000-hectare reforestation project on degraded farmland in Western Australia’s species-rich southwest.

“This project will remove a significant amount of carbon pollution from the atmosphere, while restoring the health of an extremely important landscape, which has suffered decades of habitat loss and degradation,” said Merril Halley, WWF’s Species Conservation Manager for Southwest Australia.

“Austral is leading the way as a Southern Ocean fishing operation committed to going carbon neutral, and we look forward to seeing this becoming standard practice for vessels in that part of the world, whether for fishing, tourism or Antarctic base re-supply.”

Austral Fisheries will offset about 27,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year through the planting of around 190,000 trees annually, which is the equivalent of taking roughly 4,000 cars off the road.

The Gold Standard carbon offset site is managed by Carbon Neutral and located in the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor in Southwest Australia.

Southwest Australia is one of only 35 global biodiversity hotspots, meaning the area is home to an extremely large variety of unique plants and animals that are under serious threat.

Carbon Neutral has already planted over 20 million trees on the site, which will sequester around 1.257 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In a region where over 90 per cent of forests have been cleared, the project will also provide much-needed habitat for threatened species like the Carnaby’s black cockatoo.

Gold Standard certification provides an internationally recognised seal of quality for projects that deliver measurable reductions in carbon pollution, while maximising benefits to the local population and the broader landscape.

The carbon neutral project was launched in Perth today on Sustainable Seafood Day, which falls on March 11 each year, and is an opportunity to support local seafood sourced from responsibly managed fisheries.

Austral Fisheries, whose operations include fishing in the Southern Ocean, has already displayed a commitment to sustainability, having achieved Marine Stewardship Council certification for its icefish, toothfish and northern prawn fisheries. 

WWF-Australia Media Contact: Charlie Stevens, Senior Communications Officer, 0424 649 689