Harvest Road Oceans, through its brand Leeuwin Coast, has become the first aquaculture brand in Australia with officially certified carbon neutral aquaculture products as part of a brand-wide commitment to lowering emissions and protecting and conserving marine ecosystems.
Certified by the Australian government’s Climate Active initiative – a partnership between government and industry that recognises businesses and products that achieve carbon neutrality – the certification covers Leeuwin Coast’s Akoya, rock oysters and mussels that are cultivated and harvested across the WA coastline from Albany to Carnarvon.
Shellfish aquaculture is inherently sustainable and is being actively used as a form of regenerative farming that cleans, heals and enhances our oceans. Owing to their characteristics as one of the most sustainable forms of seafood, even the shells of the rock oysters, Akoya and mussels – which are made up of calcium carbonate – are helping to offset emissions by sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.
As part of the Climate Active assessment, the carbon footprint of Leeuwin Coast’s aquaculture operations were calculated, including marine fuel use, processing of the packaging materials and freight of the product to customers. To further reduce emissions, Leeuwin Coast has invested in innovative technology and methods, including the advanced floating oyster basket technology, that have reduced carbon outputs and improved sustainable farming practices.
The remainder of the Leeuwin Coast’s emissions have been offset using certified Gold Standard credits from the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor project in the WA Wheatbelt which sequesters carbon through revegetation of endangered woodlands and through a rainforest conservation initiative that is protecting the Brazilian rainforest.
Leeuwin Coast is the aquaculture brand of Harvest Road Group Pty Ltd which launched in 2020. Leeuwin Coast honours WA oceans and is dedicated to supplying the world with the finest seafood that is distinctly West Australian.
Harvest Road’s CEO Paul Slaughter said carbon neutral certification isn’t the end of the journey but supports Leeuwin Coast’s ongoing commitment to protecting and enhancing marine environments.
“At Harvest Road we are driven by a vision to create sustainable businesses that actively prevent climate breakdown, enhance food security and revitalise local ecosystems and we are prepared to lead the world when it comes to the conservation of our unique environments,” Mr Slaughter said.
Harvest Road’s General Manager of Aquaculture, Dr Justin Welsh, said Harvest Road will commence construction of a modern shore base in Albany over the coming months which will support our goal of increasing shellfish production, create employment for up to 90 full time workers and grow the export of the shellfish products across the country and into overseas markets.
“Our Albany shore base is being designed with long-term sustainability in mind and will help us increase production to an estimated 1.5 million dozen rock oysters and 18 million pieces of Akoya oyster per annum, so we can help more consumers discover these amazing products,” Dr Welsh said.
“By taking responsibility for our carbon footprint, we are making a difference for the protection of our seas to ensure that we aren’t the last generation that enjoys the remarkable seafood that our oceans can produce,” Dr Welsh said.
The Climate Active certification follows Harvest Road’s announcement in September 2020 that it had joined forces with industry and government to map out carbon emissions across Harvey Beef’s WA supply chain to assist the state’s beef industry transition towards carbon neutrality by 2030. Already underway is Harvest Road’s first emissions reduction project – a covered anaerobic lagoon at its Harvey Beef processing plant located in the south west region of Western Australia.