Patagonian southern king crab fishery obtains MSC certification

Published on
April 5, 2022
Fishermen haul in a crab pot in Patagonia's southern king crab fishery.

The Patagonian southern king crab fishery – made up of Bentonicos de Argentina S.A., Crustáceas del Sur S.A., and Centomar S.A. – has obtained Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for the first time in its history, making it the fourth Argentinian fishery to achieve MSC certification.

“It is added to the MSC portfolio as a fishery of great value and of great commercial interest in global markets. Welcome to the group of fisheries that meet the highest standards of environmental sustainability,” MSC Latin America Program Director Cristian Vallejos said in a press release.

The species of crab caught by this fishery is the southern king crab (Lithodes santolla) and is now certified to be caught from the central Patagonian stock in the Argentine Sea, in the provinces of Santa Cruz and Chubut. The fishing season runs from January to May, with much of that product exported to markets such as China, Japan, and the United States.

The pre-assessment for certification began in 2018, and in the years since, the fishery has been improved through extensive teamwork and collaboration between different stakeholders involved and interested to improve the day-by-day practices of the fishery, according to Vallejos.

"This commitment to improvement with the overall achievement of certification, demonstrates the fishery’s clarity in caring for the king crab resource and fishery livelihood to enjoy for many more years," he said.

In order to meet the MSC standard, the certification body evaluated the status of populations of the king crab and the management and the environmental impact of the fishery, and the management system of the fishery.

"Achievement of this certification, and the certification of other Argentinian fisheries before it, demonstrates a focus on sustainable extraction of resources, not just by fisheries, but by the national management system and fisheries research teams of Argentina," Vallejos said. "The sustainability work of the fishery allows preservation of Argentina’s major resource, the Argentine Sea, while continuing to enjoy the benefits that a healthy sea can offer."

Photo courtesy of Marine Stewardship Council

Contributing editor/Reporting from Hawaii, U.S.A.

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