Antarctic krill fishery certification upheld


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
May 24, 2010

An independent adjudicator on Tuesday upheld third-party certification body Moody Marine’s determination that the Aker BioMarine Antarctic krill fishery meets the Marine Stewardship Council standard for sustainable fisheries.

In April, Eldon V.C. Greenburg requested that Moody Marine reconsider its evaluation, calling it a serious procedural error for the certifier to exclude a risk assessment published toward the end of the process. The initial objection was lodged by the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) last October.

“I conclude that Moody has cured the procedural defect identified in my remand,” said Greenburg. “In particular, Moody has not made a clear error of fact, failed to consider material information or otherwise made a determination so arbitrary or unreasonable that no reasonable certification body could have reached such a determination on the available evidence.”

As a result of the review, Moody Marine made three conditions part of the certification.

The first condition requires the fishery, within one year of certification, to test its impact on krill and other associated species. The second condition requires the fishery to assess the risk of larval fish catches, and, if levels are too high, implement measures to reduce them. The risk assessment must be completed within two years of certification. And, if management measures to reduce larval fish catches are needed, they must be implemented within four years of certification.

The third condition requires the client to provide information to assist in the development of measures to reduce the risk of localized depletion of krill and implement these measures, if necessary, within four years of certification.

The Pew Environment Group criticized the decision, stating that the certification “gives the false impression that the entire fishery for Antarctic krill is sustainable when in reality it is not.” The environmental NGO argued that the fishery threatens the local marine ecosystem, including animals such as seals, penguins and whales, which eat krill.

“In its decision, the MSC ignored irrefutable evidence put forward by numerous stakeholders, including prominent Antarctic scientists, climate change and forage fishery experts and environmental groups,” said Gerald Leape, director of Pew’s Antarctic Krill Conservation Project.

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