High fashion has recently made some changes towards more eco-friendly and kind practices, but today we talk about jewellery, specifically Australian pearls.
Members of the Australian Pearl Producers Association including Paspaley Pearls, Cygnet Bay Pearls and others are officially the first pearl fisheries in the world to achieve Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, one that took 18 months to asses.
Guy Leyland, the MSC Project Coordinator for the Western Australia Fishing Industry Council expressed his pride over the unique international certification, “More and more consumers are looking for sustainability credentials from their favourite brands, whether it’s clothing, food or jewellery. MSC allows producers to display their sustainability credentials through third party certification, Australia’s fishing industry is well placed in having the foresight to leverage the value behind an international, science and market based mechanism – namely the social license to operate, increased credibility, enhanced reputation and these days as we increasingly see, access to various markets around the world that value accountability and traceability.” he says.
The 150 years pearl industry is located primarily off Eighty Mile Beach in Western Australia and follow practices which include hand-collecting by divers and strict quotas and size limits, they seed oysters to allow for the growth of the pearl in farms along the coastline. One of the main australian companies, Paspaley Pearling Company stated that environmental responsibility has been important to Paspaley, as the the preservation of the marine habitat of Australia’s wild pearl oysters is essential.
It’s a ‘gold standard’, says Pearl Producers Association President Aaron Irving. “The standard is an independent, internationally accredited science-based standard, against which the environmental sustainability management of a wild marine resource fishery is rigorously assessed.” He went on to explain “Having an intact chain of custody enables jewellery retailers to be assured that the product that they have is certified product,”
The Parliamentary Member for the Kimberley region, Josie Farrer, added “Pearling is a central part of the story of the Kimberley region, and being the home of the world’s first pearls to be certified sustainable, is yet another layer of a rich story of stewardship of our sea country.”
This achievement is not only groundbreaking for australian fisheries, it assures pearl lovers and collectors as well as high end jewellery crafters that they can have/make pieces that are not only breathtakingly beautiful, but also, kind.