Chilean jack mackerel fishery achieves MSC certification

Published on
May 14, 2019

The Chilean jack mackerel (Trachurus murphyi) fishery has become the biggest Marine Stewardship Council-certified fishery in Latin America, following a 15-month assessment against the MSC fisheries standard.

Since the 1970s, this fish has become one of the world's most important commercial fish species, and Chile is the main fisher for this product in the Pacific Ocean. In 2018, Chilean exports reached USD 166 million (EUR 148 million). Now, the fishery – which stretches from Atacama to Los Lagos – can use the MSC label to signal that it is sustainable and complies with international best fishing practice. The certification lasts through 2024, with annual audits to ensure ongoing compliance.

The Chilean jack mackerel joins the country’s nylon shrimp, yellow squat lobster, and red squat lobster, along with krill in Antarctic waters, as the country's most prominent MSC-certified fisheries. Together they denote Chile’s commitment to develop its seafood industry in a sustainable way as part of the 2030 Agenda, a program with which the country is responding to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

“This certification has been arduous work, and is a country-wide achievement, where the fishing industry, together with authorities and national fisheries institutions, have demonstrated their commitment to the sustainability and the future, through the application of the MSC standard in this iconic species of the South Eastern Pacific Ocean,” said Social Velásquea, president of the National Fisheries Society (Sonapesca), which sought the certification.

The assessment was undertaken by Lloyd's Register, which marked the fishery against the MSC principles, to ensure that the target stock is in a healthy condition, that the impact of fishing activities in the ecosystem is prevented, and that the fishery is well-managed.        

“Congratulations to the Chilean jack mackerel fishery for achieving MSC certification,” said Cristian Vallejos, MSC's program director for Latin America. “The fishery’s hard work to show that it is dedicated to preserving the fishery and the ecosystem is evident, and we’re proud to have another fishery in Latin America demonstrate that sustainability is a priority.”   

Sonapesca is now working to encourage other industrial fisheries to join the MSC program.

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