Wednesday, April 28, 2010

MSC assessment of BC sockeye salmon enters the adjudication process

One of the objections to the MSC assessment of the sustainability of the BC sockeye salmon fishery has been withdrawn but the second has been allowed to proceed to adjudication.  This is a process under the control of lawyers hired by MSC, although scientific experts may be called by the adjudicator.  See for more information.

The letter from the lawyer to the objector, the Watershed Watch Salmon Society, can be read here:

The oral hearing will be sometime in late May or early June but it is unclear whether this is a public hearing or in camera.  What is clear is that the lawyer alone decides whether the objection is sustained or dismissed.  Note that objections are usually based on scientific aspects of the determination of sustainabililty.  No objection has been sustained thus far under the MSC process.  Therefore the outcome from this hearing will have wide public interest and should be covered by a simultaneous public webcast, so that we, the resource owners, can see and hear that justice has been done with regard to safeguarding our property.


  1. Yes, the hearing of the objection by the MSC lawyer should be open to public scrutiny. Where do I find the details of the Watershed Watch objection?

  2. The objection that is going to oral hearing is actually by a coalition of objectors: Watershed Watch Salmon Society, David Suzuki Foundation and Skeena Wild Conservation Trust.

    Their objection can be found on the MSC website here:

    The objection is largely technical and related to all three Principles applied in the MSC default assessment tree and scoring guidelines by the consultants (Tavel, now owned by Moody Marine). Given the technical nature of the objections, one has to assume that the MSC hired lawyer who will be passing judgement on whether or not the objection is sustained will require a number of independent technical experts to testify in order to get clarity. This is one objection that is not going to be easy to dismiss out of hand.

  3. Wow, what a well researched objection! Thanks for posting that link.

    It intuitively struck me as odd that every fishery rated for sustainability by the MSC seems to have passed with flying colors:

    Any idea why the Gitskan Watershed Authorities objection was withdrawn?

    The public demands a live webcast, this is too important to be hushed up.

  4. Don't know why Gitskan withdrew. Could be cost? It is expensive to lodge an objection (+-$10K)

    MSC has a two-step process to certification - step one is a secret "pre-assessment". If the fishery passes this step is 100% certain to be certified after the "full assessment" (step 2). If it fails step 1 you won't know about it. No redlisting, nothing.

    As owners of these public resources we should demand more transparency. But then again, who are the MSC's clients? The public or the fishing industry? Interesting.....

  5. No objection has been sustained thus far under the MSC process. Cahul