Wednesday, June 9, 2010

MSC eco-certified fish are not necessarily from sustainable ecosystems

An interesting posting Fishy branding - the ecosystem behind the label by Sally Campbell on the Community of Arran Seabed Trust looks behind MSC-accreditation and explores some of the emerging problems with our new hunger for ‘sustainable’ labelling.

Campbell writes "It underlines a real concern that many of the MSC eco-certified fish are not necessarily from sustainable ecosystems. Certifiers are accredited by Accreditation Services International GmbH (ASI) to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Accreditation requirements. Companies such as Moody Marine Ltd and MRAG Americas, Inc can certify that fisheries meet the MSC environmental standard for sustainable fishing and these organisations duly undertake a programmed check on those fisheries wishing to have the Blue Label from MSC. It was following such a review by a these external organisations that the Cape Hake was re-certified, and the collapsed state of the fishery was even pointed out by the independent reviewer of the certification."

1 comment:

  1. While I tend to agree with this review it is also true that we haven't really yet defined what a "sustainable" marine ecosystem is. A "sustainable" fishery is generally accepted to be one with a biomass at or above Bmsy and fishing mortality below Fmsy. It is also generally accepted that if a number of components of the ecosystem are going to be simultaneously fished, fishing mortality has to be considerably less than the component Fmsy levels. MSC criteria make this allowance with regard to forage species, but I don't often see it invoked in the assessments by Moody Marine et al.