Toothfish still imperiled by misinformation
By Melissa Wood, SeaFood Business assistant editor
25 June, 2012
It’s advice so easy to remember it rhymes: “Pass on Chilean sea bass.” It’s the title of an article from Good Housekeeping’s “one easy thing” collection of tips for readers wishing to save the planet, effortlessly.
The article echoes Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch red-listing of the species, and may have been inspired by the decade-old “Take a Pass on Chilean Sea Bass” campaign. And back then it was probably true. Chilean sea bass’ home in the deep Southern Ocean waters off Antarctica made it hard to track as a variety of countries targeted it and exported it to distant markets.
But one downfall of getting information from the Internet is that yesterday’s news can live on forever. Seafood Watch amended its 2006 report on Chilean sea bass last year to OK product with a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label. Those fish come from limited fisheries in the South Georgia-Ross Sea region and most recently the Australian Heard Island and McDonald Islands, which earned MSC certification in March.
The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which oversees fisheries management in the Southern Ocean, began requiring mandatory electronic catch documentation in 2007. Vessels catching toothfish also have their positions monitored by satellite every four hours. The measures have helped tightened control over who catches Chilean sea bass (the U.S. name for both the Patagonian toothfish and Antarctic toothfish) and its far-flung market destinations.
“There is some misinformation out there. A lot of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) have listed toothfish as endangered on their sites, but it’s not endangered,” says Kim Dawson-Guynn, a NOAA Fisheries biologist at the National Seafood Inspection Laboratory in Pascagoula, Miss.
Click here to read the feature in its entirety from the June issue of SeaFood Business >
25 June, 2012