Wednesday, March 24, 2010

MSC awards re-certification to South African hake

Despite the strong objections of one of the independent reviewers, MSC has just announced that it has decided to re-certify the South African hake fishery:

The offshore hake species and main contributor to this two-species fishery is in a collapsed state and did not improve during the previous certification period.  This was clearly pointed out by the independent reviewer of the assessment but apparently ignored by MSC (see earlier post).  

The MSC website quotes a spokesman for the client group: “Initially we sought certification partly to celebrate the steady, painstaking recovery of domestic hake resources and partly because we wished to pursue a high sustainability standard for the fishery. We have seen, in the last five years, that MSC certification has other benefits: there is commercial advantage by way of access to other markets and buyers that place a premium on a certified product. Personally, the most gratifying benefit is the way in which certification motivates participants. Certification raises awareness of all fishing stakeholders about the need to adopt best practices with a view to the long term future of the hake resource.”

Painstaking recovery?
High sustainability standard for the fishery?
Do the economic benefits of certification outweigh the facts in this case?

You decide.