Thursday, November 17, 2011
MSC Sustainable Fisheries Certification Works says new report
In October 2010
MSC announced that it had selected,
from the various contract bidders, MRAG Ltd to undertake the first detailed
analysis of the environmental impacts that have resulted from the first ten
years of MSC’s fishery certification program.
MRAG was supported in this contract by Poseidon Aquatic Resource
Management Ltd and Meridian Prime Ltd.
These consulting companies have recently submitted their joint report. You get what you pay for so no surprise that the report concluded that
MSC eco-certification really works.
The media release states that this is an “independent” study. Not so. MRAG Ltd. is a consulting company heavily engaged in the
MSC certification game. Further, one of the report authors, David
Agnew, is a long time MSC insider as Chair of the Technical Advisory
Board and is now on staff as MSC Director of Standards.
The study focuses on improvements in eight outcome performance indicators: stock status; population reference points; stock recovery; retained species; bycatch species; endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species; habitats and environments.
Improvements were purported to have been evidenced over the period commencing with the secret
MSC pre-assessment, through assessment
and into the certification.
The conclusion from the study was that
Erik Stokstad, writing in Science is not convinced. Scoring is subjective and there is no control study (i.e. how did fisheries not under
MSC certification progress over the
MSC continues to certify fisheries that
are data-deficient, clearly not sustainable or which cause unacceptable
collateral damage on other components of the ecosystem we, the resource owners,
should reserve judgement regarding the efficacy of the program.