Scallop fireworks ahead
Monday,22 March,2010 08:43:16
Members of the American Scallop Association are seeking the Marine Stewardship Council ecolabel for the Atlantic scallop fishery.
Any number of green groups will likely mobilize to oppose the label of sustainability for the scallop industry.
There was some green unrest about MSC certification of the Alaska pollock fishery, but if I were a betting man I’d wager you ain’t seen nothing yet.
The anti-trawl cohort will be out in full force. Others may raise issues around bycatch.
Although I believe opponents of trawling have yet to make a convincing case, their arguments resonate in the mainstream.
What is not arguable is that the amount of bottom dredged by scallop boats is infinitesimal in the scheme of things.
Second, we should be extremely reluctant to condemn fisheries over bycatch. On the other hand, the reduction of bycatch is as desired by fishermen as it is the most ardent conservationists, giving us a much more collaborative mission.
Bycatch reduction clears the path for the main objective of any fishery, which is sustainable economic benefit. The ex-vessel value of sea scallops landed in the Atlantic states was $370 million in 2008, the last year for which NMFS has complete numbers.
That’s a tremendous, quantifiable benefit to working people, vessel owners, and fishing communities, and it goes a long way toward explaining why New Bedford, our top scallop port, leads the nation in the value of landings.
Stand by for fireworks. To the extent that elements of the conservation movement are predisposed to condemn the scalloping, or have been spoiling for a battle over bottom trawling, their campaign in opposition to certifying the fishery will be vigorous, to say the least.
Thank you for your time.
Editor & Publisher, National Fisherman
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American tuna harvesters slighted
Monday,8 March,2010 09:11:41
The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it's supporting Monaco's proposal to ban the international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna. Which means U.S. tuna fishermen - who've done more to promote bluefin health than their global fishing brethren - get the short end of the stick. Again.
No one argues that bluefin stocks abroad are in trouble. Or that bluefin there are being overfished. Or that something has to be done to curb fishing practices occurring overseas.
Such concerns likely spurred Monaco's proposal to restrict international bluefin trade via CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The proposal would list Atlantic bluefin tuna under Appendix I of the CITES treaty, which is for species threatened with extinction. International trade for Appendix I species is prohibited.
That doesn't mean the proposal will be approved when CITES member nations gather in Doha, Qatar in a little over a week. U.S. support for the proposal could influence other nations to back it, too. But Europe's enthusiasm for the trade ban is questionable.
And if it does pass, there's the matter of Japan, which drives the bluefin trade thanks to high demand there for the pricey tuna. Under the CITES treaty, should Japan take 'reservation' status, it can only trade with other CITES member nations who take reservation status. American tuna fishermen say Japan could easily circumvent the CITES listing.
For decades, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas has failed to rein in harvest excesses and promote bluefin conservation abroad. Meanwhile, American harvesters who have endured lower catch quotas and fish under stricter regulations than do tunamen in other countries, would again be penalized - and could have their own government to thank for that privilege.
Thank you for your time.
Senior Editor, National Fisherman