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An independent adjudicator has upheld the Marine Stewardship Council certification of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) unassociated purse-seine skipjack fishery, the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) announced on Wednesday.

The certification is contingent on the fishery meeting expectations outlined in a series of conditions, which includes additional scientific modeling to demonstrate PNA’s ability to manage the sustainability of the entire skipjack stock. If this condition is not met in the first year, the fishery could face suspension and decertification, according to the ruling. The ruling also agreed with ISSF’s position that the fishery must design and implement an appropriate harvest control rule, requiring PNA to manage fishing in its waters by taking into account catches in waters outside of PNA control.

ISSF has been a vocal proponent of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission adopting stock-specific target and limit reference points and harvest control rules, with increased advocacy planned around the RFMO’s upcoming annual meeting.

“Today’s ruling demonstrates how stakeholder engagement in the MSC process can result in strengthened conditions that better ensure a fishery meets its sustainability objectives,“ said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “In recent statements the PNA has suggested that ISSF use its resources to help the entire Pacific region meet higher standards of practice and that remains our absolute intention. Ensuring the science-based conservation and management of tuna throughout its range has fueled our involvement as a stakeholder in the MSC process. ISSF will continue to serve as a stakeholder in the MSC assessment process of tuna fisheries seeking certification and will also remain engaged with the MSC in the further development of technical assessment methodology and guidelines.”


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