Founded in 1981, AUSTRAL FISHERIES is one of Australia’s leading commercial fishing companies specialising in environmentally sustainable fishing practices.
The icy sub-Antarctic waters of the Southern Ocean near Heard and Macquarie Islands is where AUSTRAL FISHERIES captures and processes Patagonian Toothfish and Mackerel Icefish.
AUSTRAL FISHERIES is also Australia’s second-largest prawn producer and operates in the Northern Prawn Fishery – a region covering approximately 880,000 square kilometres of Australia’s northern waters across Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.
In 2003, AUSTRAL FISHERIES helped establish, fund and direct COLTO – the Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators, encouraging legal operators to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The company also applied for sustainability certification through the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an international standard awarded to fisheries that meet strict chain-of-custody standards for fish traceability. AUSTRAL FISHERIES now holds the world’s largest single quota for MSC–certified toothfish, which is branded as Glacier 51 Toothfish.
In 2014–15, the company’s annual export revenue rose by 41 per cent, largely due to increased sales of Glacier 51 Toothfish to the USA where provenance is an important consumer concern. Austral’s reputation for sustainability was solidified by a ‘best choice’ rating on the influential Seafood Watch programme, which is managed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. AUSTRAL FISHERIES also gained market share in the lucrative Asian markets of Singapore and Hong Kong, where it launched small packaging options for its Skull Island brand of tiger prawns.
The judges commended AUSTRAL FISHERIES branding strategies, and its commitment to sustainability and ethical production.