South Pacific jack mackerel fishery earns MSC certification

Following a 15-month assessment process, the European South Pacific jack mackerel fishery has been approved under the Marine Stewardship Council’s fisheries standard. 

As of 26 March, the fishery has been permitted to use the MSC label on its products. The certification is effective through March 2025, with the fishery undergoing annual audits to ensure it continues to meet the standard’s requirements, MSC said.

The midwater otter trawl jack mackerel fishery includes three trawlers from Germany, Lithuania, and Poland. The vessels operate in the Southeast Pacific under South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) management. The fishery’s assessed annual quota is 41,538 tons in 2020, which is 6 percent of the total allowable catch (TAC). The catch is landed in Talcahuano and San Vicente, Chile, and is sent to markets predominantly in West Africa such as Nigeria and Angola, where it is often sold as smoked fish.

“Achieving MSC certification is an important milestone for the fishing activities of the vessels of Parlevliet & Van der Plas and Samherhji groups,” MSC Northern Europe Director Hans Nieuwenhuis said.It gives independent recognition of the sound management of this fishery and allows for credible claims of sustainability. It means that the target stock is in a healthy condition, that the impact of fishing activities on the ecosystem is minimal, and that the fishery is well-managed.”

As a condition put on the fishery to maintain certification, it’s working to develop harvest control rules for the jack mackerel stock in the South Pacific, according to Parlevliet & Van der Plas Group Project Manager Rob Banning.

“The European Union has been instrumental in the setup of a sustainability fisheries management framework in the South Pacific, as part of the ‘external dimension’ of the Common Fisheries Policy of the European Union. This is one of the first tangible results of this framework,” Banning said.

This fishery joins 395 other fisheries in 36 countries that are certified to the MSC fishery standard, and more than 41,000 seafood products worldwide that carry the blue MSC label.

Photo courtesy of phil_berry/Shutterstock


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