Letter: Chilean sea bass fishery an anti-IUU fishing success story


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
March 20, 2015

I read with interest the interview with Roger Berkowitz that was published on March 13th.

In regards to Roger’s comments on sustainability of the Chilean sea bass fishery, I have the following response.

The information in the article in regards to Chilean sea bass may have been true 15 years ago but today is not based in fact. Today, Chilean sea bass is among the most regulated species in the world.

In the mid- to late-1990s and early 2000s there were more than 55 illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) vessels fishing for toothfish in the Southern Oceans. Since this time, largely through the success of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), national governments, legal industry and conservation NGOs, IUU fishing for toothfish is the lowest it has been in the last 20 years, with a 2014 estimate of less than 1,500 metric tons taken, which represents 7 percent of the total legal catch.  

Measures taken to eliminate IUU fishing included the introduction of satellite monitoring systems on all legal boats; catch documentation systems to track all legal product; certification and traceability schemes to ensure only legal products entered the main markets; compliance and surveillance activities by national governments and international agencies (such as Interpol); and many other measures.

In the last decade, six fisheries, accounting for more than 60 percent the world’s Chilean sea bass catch have been independently certified as sustainable and well managed by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). MSC-certified Chilean sea bass is a big part of our business. More information on toothfish fisheries can be found on the MSC website.

In addition, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program rates 66 percent of the world catch as a “best choice” or “good alternative.”

For further information on the story of government, NGOs and industry working together to safeguard a resource please go to the website of the Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators.


Barry Markman
Mark Foods
New York 

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