Big row over certification of Indian Ocean Tuna fishery

A row has erupted between the Marine Stewardship Council and environmental & sustainable fishing groups regarding MSC certification of the Echebastar Indian Ocean tuna purse seine fishery. The purse skipjack fishery obtained Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification https://goo.gl/gQGRqj, weeks after an independent adjudicator paved the way for the process to move forward, https://goo.gl/qfWRPT.

After the adjudicator’s ruling, the WWF said it was “most concerned” with what it called a “flawed” process. WWF says its objections were made on the following grounds: “although the Echebastar fishery targets skipjack tuna, a major portion of its catch is yellowfin tuna which is already overfished and for which no harvest strategy exists in the Indian Ocean (moreover, the effectiveness of rebuilding measures for yellowfin tuna stocks has not been assessed); the fishery uses fish aggregating devices (FADs) which increase the catch of non-target species and diminish the populations of already threatened ocean wildlife, including sharks; and that the management plans to reduce the mortality of sharks – particularly silky sharks – are inadequate”. For these reasons, WWF says its recommending that “seafood buyers should not consider this fishery as meeting the sufficient standard of environmental performance for MSC certification”, https://lnkd.in/dn9jRwg.

Two other groups, the International Pole and Line Foundation and the Shark Project, withdrew from the MSC process in September over the Echebastar fishery and said they would formally complain to the MSC, https://goo.gl/UfiMd4.

Author: Dr. Nirmal Shah

Nirmal is a well-known and a passionate personality in the Seychelles environmental and sustainability scene having an encyclopedic knowledge of Seychelles biodiversity as well as a wealth of experience in environment management. He has worked in senior positions in the parastatal, government, private and NGO sectors and consulted for international organizations such as the World Bank, IUCN, UNEP, Sida and UNESCO. He has appeared on CNN, BBC, Radio France, PBS, NBC, ABC, SABC and others

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