Toothfish operators, Amazon challenge Chilean seabass sales petition

Published on
August 16, 2017

The Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators Inc. (COLTO) said it is doing what it can to work with Amazon to have an online petition removed calling for the retail giant to stop selling Chilean seabass (toothfish).

In a statement, Richard Ball, chair of COLTO, said the petition, which claims that the fish and endangered seabirds are at risk from fishing, was “inaccurate, misleading and untruthful.” He said that the association had written to the social enterprise corporation Care2 Petitions to voice its concerns and to request that the petition be taken down.

“We would like to reassure our customers and all interested parties that the toothfish you are buying, not only from Amazon, but anywhere in today’s market, is coming from legal fisheries that are world leading at protecting Antarctic wildlife such as seabirds, and are overseen within an ecosystem based management regime by scientists and governments from 25 member nations, in the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR),” he said.

For accurate information on toothfish fisheries, Ball highlighted four “authoritative websites,” in addition to COLTO’s own site, which he said debunk the myths listed in the petition: Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program, CCAMLR, National Ocean and Atmosphere Agency’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

With more than 80,200 supporters, the petition on Care2 states, “Amazon is allowing its vendors to sell a product that kills hundreds of thousands of birds every year and could lead to the extinction of a very, very big fish. The Patagonian toothfish – better known as the Chilean seabass – is a deep water white meat fish that many conservation organizations believe is at risk of disappearing.”

It said that longline fishing is accountable for the deaths of more than 300,000 seabirds, including 100,000 albatrosses each year.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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