MSC recertifies Chilean sea bass fishery


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
September 16, 2009

The Marine Stewardship Council announced on Thursday that the South Georgia Patagonian toothfish longline fishery has earned recertification as a sustainable and well-managed fishery.

It is the only Chilean sea bass fishery the London nonprofit considers to be sustainably harvested, as it scored over 90 out of a scale of 100 for each of the three MSC principles: objective, third-party fishery assessment utilizing scientific evidence; transparent processes with built-in stakeholder consultation and objection procedures; and standards based on the sustainability of target species, ecosystems and management practices.

The fishery also attracted no conditions for certification having successfully met all of the previous conditions relating to its initial certification in 2004. All certified fisheries are reviewed after five years.

The government of South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) has already pledged a continued commitment to further improving the fishery, including an extensive program of scientific work in order to support management of the fishery over the next five years.

“It is tremendously encouraging to see the higher scores awarded during the re-assessment of this important fishery indicating continued improvement in performance from the initial assessment and with commitments by the GSGSSI to go further,” said Rupert Howes, CEO of the MSC. “While concerns remain about the legality of some sources of toothfish reaching global seafood markets, major buyers and consumers can be assured that MSC certified toothfish from South Georgia is both legal and sustainable. We hope that as the market demand for certified sustainable supplies of this species grows, other toothfish fisheries will be encouraged to enter into the third-party scientific assessment process and, where necessary, to make the improvements needed to reach MSC’s standard for environmentally responsible and sustainable fishing. That is how the MSC program is designed to work.”

More than 150 fisheries worldwide are now engaged in the MSC program, with 55 certified, more than 100 in full assessment and 40 to 50 in confidential pre-assessment. Last week, the Iturup Island pink and chum salmon harvest become Russia’s first fishery and the 55th worldwide to earn the MSC eco-label.

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