Augusta abalone innovator Brad Adams says he is thrilled at a new internationally-recognised certification for his Flinders Bay business confirmed in time for last week’s World Oceans Day.
Fisheries Minister Don Punch confirmed the news Rare Foods Australia secured the coveted Wild Sustainable Fishery status for its “hatch and catch” greenlip abalone fishery, which Mr Adams said took months of hard work to achieve.
The certification comes as the abalone fishery prepares to open another long-planned venture, bringing its Ocean Pantry commercial operation to the Augusta Marina in July.
Rare Foods was already a major employer for the seaside hamlet, with about 30 workers, and the marina’s commercial centre would employ several more workers when it opened in mid-July.
The Ocean Pantry was the realisation of long-held ambitions for the marina – not just by Mr Adams, but State Government and Shire of Augusta-Margaret River backers who envision the Royalties for Regions-funded project as a future major tourism lure for Augusta.
Mr Adams told the Times the Ocean Pantry would provide an offering similar to that found in public marinas overseas where visitors could get up close and personal with the fishery process as well as buy products, take tours, and sample the prized greenlip abalone.
He said the product certification was valued because international purchasers were increasingly focused on the environmental credentials of food sources, particularly those from the sea.
“We were really stoked to attain that certification,” Mr Adams said.
“It was a lot of work we had to go through. It’s a pretty big deal for us.
“It certifies our creation of the artificial reef. We’re actually certified as a sustainable fishery.”
Mr Adams said the site had tourism potential, but the certification was about bolstering Rare Foods’ export market.
“It will open up a number of new markets for us,” he said.
“It will certify us as a product chefs are proud to use.
“We’ve developed a method of growing abalone in the wild that is recognised as world’s best practice.”
Mr Punch commended the operation which was now the 12th such-accredited sustainable fishing operation in WA.
“This new Marine Stewardship Council tick of approval for Rare Foods Australia not only highlights WA’s strong commitment to sustainable fisheries, but also what can be achieved through innovation,” he said.
“They have created a world first with their ocean ranching and what better way to celebrate World Oceans Day than to see them awarded international sustainability certification.”
While Mr Adams also had projects under way in Esperance, his focus on Augusta not only included the certification and new marina site, but also ramping up production of the company’s “ocean cellaring” service.
As previously reported by the Times, Rare Foods partnered for the first time last year with Glenarty Road winery to mature wines underwater, which produced distinctive-looking bottles as well as advanced the wines’ natural maturation process.
Mr Adams said his company would increase the scale of wines matured underwater this coming year.