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It appears as though aspirations for compromise on the proposed Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of the Russian Sea of Okhotsk pollock fishery will be unsuccessful.

In late March, MSC-appointed independent adjudicator Michael Lodge proposed mediation between certification opponents At-sea Processors Association (APA) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the fisheries client in lieu of adjudication.

On Wednesday, Lodge said while the WWF has made progress in its discussions with the Russian Pollock Association, the APA has indicated it is unlikely to reach an agreement.

“In the past several days I have held separate consultations with the client fishery, each of the objectors and with the CAB (conformity assessment body),” said Lodge. “As a result of these consultations, my impression is as follows:

(a) WWF and the fishery client have had discussions which have resulted in a number of agreed changes to the conditions and client action plan. A number of issues remain to be resolved. Both sides have expressed a willingness to continue to consult, with a view to coming to an agreement by 13 April. I urge the parties to continue to work together and to report back to me. In the event there is no agreement by 13 April, the matter will proceed to adjudication without further delay. However, that would not preclude the parties from continuing their discussions and the objection may be withdrawn at any stage prior to adjudication if it is possible to arrive at a mutually agreed solution.

(b) In the case of the objection by APA, it does not appear to me that there is any possibility of reaching an agreement and therefore the matter should proceed to adjudication.”

Lodge said a hearing will be convened on the objection, unless APA disagrees.

“In this regard, the fishery client has given preliminary indication to me that it would be prepared to dispense with the requirement for a hearing,” said Lodge. “I seek the response of APA to this proposal by 12 April 2013.”

In regards to the WWF, Lodge is extending the consultation period to 14 April so that the organization and the fishery client may continue to consult and report back to him. If the parties can not reach an agreement by 14 April the matter with proceed immediately to adjudication.

A date for the potential hearings was not set, but Lodge said it would likely be set for late April, May or June.

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