Showing posts with label Sustainable fisheries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sustainable fisheries. Show all posts

Friday, December 20, 2013

MSC – Controlling the medium controlling the message?

Although technically a non-profit, the Marine Stewardship Council is a for-profit organization – the profit being used to expand the scope and influence of the Council. 

A new area of expansion is the creation of an online fisheries science research library.

The “library” is essentially a new eJournal called “MSC Science Series”.  It will be published biannually and the first volume is now online.

The MSC Science Series provides a medium for publishing the results of MSC funded research related to the MSC standard for sustainable fisheries and marine ecosystems.  The review and editorial panels comprise mainly MSC staffers and insiders.

Fisheries and marine ecosystem sciences are already well served by a number of online scientific journals, both those with a long-standing tradition in paper form and a number of recently added eJournals. 

These journals pride themselves on having independent and objective peer review processes.  It is questionable whether there is a real need for a new eJournal, particularly one in which the review and editorial process is tightly controlled by the hosting organization.

Informed criticism of the MSC process has come mainly from fisheries scientists and ecologists who have questioned the data, methods and results of some MSC sustainability determinations.  A number of these have been published in independent peer reviewed journals.  In contrast, there have been few papers in support of the MSC approach written by scientists who are completely independent of the MSC process.

Rather than working on establishing the scientific legitimacy of its data, methods and results through the existing independent peer reviewed literature, the MSC is hoping to further its cause by creating a quasi-scientific medium in which the message will be closely controlled and favourable to the MSC. 

In some ways this is similar to another MSC institution, the quasi-legal Objections Procedure in which “Independent Adjudicators” hired by MSC to adjudicate on objections to MSC sustainability determinations invariably decide in favor of the MSC and against the objectors. 

Ironically, the objectors are typically groups and associations of scientists and environmentalists citing information published in the peer reviewed scientific literature!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fisheries Ministers lost their authority to MSC in a coup de'etat in 2008?

Dr. Doug Butterworth, a retired academic and fisheries consultant from a South African university, recently made the claim at an international marine conference that fisheries ministers around the world lost their authority in a coup de'etat in 2008 when the MSC succeeded in persuading major European supermarkets to only purchase MSC certified products. This claim was made during a key-note address at the September 2013 ICES (International Council for Exploration of the Sea) Annual Science Conference in Reykjav√≠k (min 41:38 onwards)‎.

Butterworth says that prior to this the MSC was in the doldrums but in 2008 there was a quiet revolution in which fisheries ministers did not even realize that they had surrendered their authority on national fisheries policy to the MSC.  Butterworth states that this resulted in an explosion in applications for MSC certification.

Butterworth argues that although MSC is only dealing with 10% of the World's fisheries, the process is so burdensome that it is draining scientific expertise in stock assessments to produce MSC reviews of variable consistency.  Butterworth claims that the MSC review process is inferior to processes such as the review that takes place in ICES in providing scientific advice on the management of European fish stocks.

This view adds to the debate recently rekindled in Alaska over salmon certification - should MSC be second-guessing national and international processes already in place to provide scientific assessments, review and advice on meeting sustainability criteria?  If ICES scientists provide advice to managers on how to manage a European fishery in a sustainable manner and managers follow this advice, what added value does MSC really have?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Da Fishy Code – Interpreting the MSC eco-label

So what does the MSC eco-label tell you?  Not a lot it turns out.  You have to do a lot of digging.  My example is a package of MSC certified “Wild Albacore Tuna Portions” purchased from a national grocery chain in Canada (Sobeys/Loblaws).  

The front of the package has the blue MSC logo and provides information that the content is “Certified sustainable and responsibly caught seafood”.  The back of the package also displays the MSC logo and has a little more information:  “This product comes from a fishery that has been independently certified to the Marine Stewardship Council’s standard for a well-managed and sustainable fishery.”    Under the MSC logo there is also a number, SF-C-1245.

A Google for MSC SF-C-1245 gives a several relevant hits, none of which are for the MSC website.  The highest ranking hits are all for which tells us that this is the MSC Certificate Code.  Including these key words together with the code still gives no MSC related hits.  If MSC has a website linking information on certified fisheries to certificate codes, I could not find it using Google.  The MSC website does however assure us that the blue logo means that buyers can have confidence that the fish we are buying can be traced back to a fishery that meets the MSC environmental standard for sustainable fishing.  It’s all about trusting the brand! is a free resource connecting businesses that buy and/or sell sustainable seafood.  Using the MSC certificate as the link to the product, FishChoice tells us that the package contains steaks of Thunnus alalunga, wild caught off British Columbia Canada.  It also notes that its partner organizations Seafood Watch, SeaChoice, Blue Ocean Institute, FishWise and Ocean Wise, as well as MSC, all give it the “green thumbs up” as a best choice in terms of sustainable seafood.  Fishchoice states that it adds to its directory only seafood products that meet the minimum sustainability threshold of its partner organizations.  It anticipates that seafood buyers will search FishChoice for environmentally preferable seafood products and then contact suppliers to make their purchases.

Next steps would be to research the BC albacore fishery certification on the MSC website.  MSC tells us that the unit of certification is the “Canadian Highly Migratory Species Foundation (CHMSF) British Columbia albacore tuna North Pacific”, that it is caught by troll and jig by about 198 vessels and was certified by MSC in March 2010.  Perusing the consultant’s assessment of the fishery on the MSC website, one can note that there is little or no bycatch and any ETP (endangered, threatened, protected) species can easily be returned to the sea unharmed because of the use of barbless hooks.  That’s good.
One can also note that a number of conditions have been placed on the fishery regarding things that need to be fixed within the current certification period to ensure ongoing certification.  Prominent among these is the need to determine the appropriateness of the current management targets and to develop limits to fishing.  This may be difficult to achieve given the highly migratory nature of the species and the complexities of the organizations involved.  The Canada/US Management Authorities are Fisheries and Ocean Canada (DFO) and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC).  International management of the North Pacific albacore resource is shared by two international fisheries commissions: the Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).  The International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean also plays some role in this process.

One might be a little concerned that the BC Albacore fishery is provisionally certified sustainable by MSC without well-established fisheries management targets and limits, but that might be unfair given the greater shortcomings in a number of other MSC certified fisheries.

What else is on the Albacore packaging?  The top right has a round label that challenges us to “Trace this Fish…From Ocean to Table” and tells us to “see back for code”.  There is also a QR barcode that you can scan into your smartphone.  They both lead ultimately to the same place.  The back of the package tells you to visit where you can type in the “Trace this Fish” code C001025.  When you do this you learn a whole lot more about the fishery.  You learn that “Your Albacore Tuna was caught by Korey Sundstrum off Barkley Sound and landed frozen-at-sea in Ucluelet, BC on Jul 25, 2011.  Who processed it?  Pasco Seafood Enterprises Inc. in BC.”  Neat eh? is a project of Ecotrust Canada.  Ecotrust Canada is an enterprising nonprofit whose purpose is to build the conservation economy. They work at the intersection of conservation and community economic development promoting innovation and providing services for communities, First Nations and enterprises to green and grow their local economies.    They have partnered with fish harvesters and seafood businesses to provide “Ocean to Table” information.  Information is uploaded by fishermen and thus far has more than 250,000 records in its database.

DFO is supposedly also launching a program to trace seafood “from ocean to plate,” giving consumers what DFO claims will be accurate and timely information on the seafood they eat.  Thus far there is nothing to show in the public domain so I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Time to grill that albacore steak!

Friday, December 24, 2010

De-coding eco-labels, flaws and inadequacies - Food&WaterWatch

Food&WaterWatch describes a number of flaws and inadequacies with eco-certification and eco-lables in their recent publication De-coding Seafood Eco-Labels: Why we need Public standards.

Two issues that stand out are whether the public or private sector should oversee eco-certification and the certification of flawed fisheries.

Private sector eco-certification, for example the program run by the Marine Stewardship Council, limits the public right to fully determine the standards and conditions related to the labeling of their own property, the fish in the ocean.  If governments and RFMO's lived up to their responsibility to ensure only sustainable fisheries are permitted, there would be no need for expensive private sector certification schemes to second-guess the process.

Certification of flawed fisheries on condition that they undertake to improve and become sustainable in the future is very controversial.  As Food&WaterWatch point out - this deception regarding a sustainable fishery can be exploited by "free-riders" who get to ride on the reputation of the label.   Nobody should purchase a Toyota that is provisionally deemed safe provided the company figures out a way of fixing that brake problem over the next couple of years!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

BC Spiny Dogfish – Sustainable Fishery or Species at Risk?

Will BC Spiny Dogfish be the first shark fishery to be deemed sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council? Or will it become another species on the growing COSEWIC Species At Risk list? 

MSC accredited certifying body, Moody Marine Ltd, is part way through a sustainability determination and COSEWIC is presently reviewing the extinction risks.

IUCN previously assessed the Spiny Dogfish as near threatened globally.  A proposal by Germany in 2004 to list Spiny Dogfish under CITES Appendix II tabled at a pre-CITES meeting was rejected by European member states.

The MSC assessment process started in 2008 under another private consulting company, TAVEL, which has subsequently been taken over by rival Moody.

Things moved very slowly on the MSC dogfish assessment and on 2 March 2010 Moody announced that it would be using the MSC “default assessment tree”.  In other words, the full-blow sustainability determination with multiple criteria under three Principles as given in “Marine Stewardship Council Fisheries Assessment Methodology and Guidance to Certification Bodies”.

However, once the Moody assessment team started to dig into the available data on this fishery, they found that it was very data-poor.  The last time the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) had attempted to assess the status of the stock was back in 1987, so Moody had very little that was current to work with.  Moody and other MSC accredited consulting companies typically “borrow” extensively from the latest government or RFMO scientific assessment in order to arrive at their sustainability determination.

DFO dutifully commissioned a new stock assessment for BC spiny dogfish held May 17, 2010 in Nanaimo, BC.  The ensuing DFO report, “Science Advisory Report 2010/057 – Assessment  of Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthius) in British Columbia in 2010” has yet to see the light of day with regard to the general public.  However, one must assume that Moody got a sneak preview and didn’t like what it saw, because on 8 October 2010 they announced that they had changed their mind and rather than apply the default assessment tree, they are opting for the alternate back-door route to certification by applying the MSC “Risk Based Framework” (RBF).

The RBF was developed by MSC as an alternative assessment approach for data-deficient situations; particularly for Principles 1 and 2 (in other words, the important stuff like stock status, management strategy and ecosystem impacts).  Initially the motivation for such an approach was the idea that the default assessment tree favoured large scale fisheries in developed nations and that smaller fisheries in under-developed countries would be at an economic disadvantage because of a lack of the appropriate information and infrastructure, even though these fisheries might have a track record of being sustainable over a number of years.

This notion of giving a break to under-developed countries seems to have fallen by the way, and RBF is now being applied to fisheries for which there is no excuse for not having a state-of-the-art assessment of the sustainability of a fishery.  Case to point – a British Columbia fishery – one of the wealthiest provinces in one of the wealthiest countries with super-abundant resources to collect the information required to determine whether a fishery is sustainable.

RBF methods are much more subjective than the standard approach under the default assessment tree.  Methods range in complexity and data requirements from a system based on expert judgment (Scale Intensity Consequence Analysis- SICA), to a semi-quantitative analysis to assess potential risk (Productivity Susceptibility Analysis - PSA).  PSA examines attributes of each species that contribute to or reflect its productivity or susceptibility.   Pacific Spiny Dogfish has both a very low productivity and a high susceptibility to fishing gear.  They are long-lived, only maturing at about 35 years of age.  Females typically give birth once every two years and produce around 6 pups after a gestation period of 22-24 months – the longest of any known vertebrate. 

There has been a commercial fishery for Spiny Dogfish in Pacific waters since 1870 with landings peaking landing of over 30,000 tons in the 1940s.  Landings have been much lower, between 5,000 and 7,000 tons, in the Canadian Pacific fishery in recent years presumably because of lower abundance.  The fishery is pursued by both hook-and-line and trawl gear.  Although trawl catches have been relatively stable recently, landings and discards in the hook-and-line fleet have been steadily increasing over the last eight years.  Catch rate and survey trends are either flat or decreasing.  The size of the population relative to virgin levels is not known.  The fishery is managed by quota, currently set at about 15,000 tons.  It is not clear whether this is an adequate measure to ensure a sustainable population in the long-term or whether a more conservative approach is required.

It will be very interesting to see what comes out of the parallel MSC and COSEWIC processes with regard to sustainability vs. extinction risks.  Either way, we need more up-to-date information and a conservation-minded harvesting strategy if the fishery is to be truly sustainably managed such that there is a very low risk of future declines, collapses or even extinction.  

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All objections to Fraser Sockeye Salmon MSC certification dismissed

In his ruling handed down July 12 2010, Independent Adjudicator Wylie Spicer, Q.C., dismissed all objections to the MSC certification of the Fraser River Sockeye Salmon as sustainable. Certification will now proceed and the BC Salmon Marketing Council can apply the blue MSC sustainability label to all products from the Fraser River sockeye fishery. The objections were filed jointly by the Watershed Watch Salmon Society, David Suzuki Foundation and the Skeena Wild Conservation Trust.

This is Spicer’s first adjudication in his new job on salary to MSC. In his findings, he sets the tone early on by stating that “Other IA’s, in recent decisions, recognizing the purpose of the OP [Objection Procedure], have described the standard of review available as being “narrow” and requiring “deference to the determinations of the certification body” (Ross Sea Antarctic Toothfish Longline Fishery decision at para. 8).”

Further into his report Spicer notes that the Objector’s arguments “are really taking issue with whether the Fraser River Fishery can stand up to scrutiny given the MSC Principles and Criteria.” He notes that “this type of review is not the purpose of the OP. The purpose of the OP is to review the work of the CB [Certification Body] to see whether it made an error that materially affected the outcome of the Determination.”

Within this narrow ambit of the OP, Spicer finds that no such errors were made. Procedures were followed and the scores are justified.

For those of us that value our children’s future more than MSC procedures and the short-term economic benefits accrued by the BC Salmon Marketing Council, there are some major concerns with this certification.

Firstly, the productivity of Fraser River salmon is in free-fall as pointed out by the “Think Tank of Scientists” that met in December 2009 at Simon Fraser University: “The productivity of the Fraser river sockeye salmon, which is the number of adults produced per spawner, has been declining since the mid-1990s to the point where Fraser River sockeye are almost unable to replace themselves.” No matter what scoring guideposts were set up and what scores were allocated by the Moody Marine assessment team, a population that is “almost unable to replace itself” cannot be considered a candidate for a sustainable fishery.

Secondly, two distinct genetic components of Fraser sockeye, those spawning in Cultus Lake and Sakinaw Lake, have been found to be endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. The Canadian government however decided not to list them under the Species at Risk Act, citing socio-economic considerations.  Listing would have mandated an explicit rebuilding strategy. The continuing loss of biodiversity should be a major concern for those that care about our planet’s future.

So, MSC adds another controversial certification to their growing list, the perfect record of all objections to any assessment being dismissed is retained, and public confidence in the process, and hence the value of the MSC label, is diminished.

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."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Canadian bluefin tuna fishery to apply for MSC certification?

The Canadian fishery for bluefin tuna takes place on the Scotian Shelf, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the Bay of Fundy, and off Newfoundland during the tuna feeding migration which brings large fish into Canadian waters between July and November.

The directed fishery uses rod-and-reel or tended line with a restriction of a maximum of four lines per vessel and one hook per line. A portion of the Canadian harvest is taken as by-catches in the swordfish longline fishery and other tuna fisheries.

Canada’s 2009 allocation by ICCAT comprised 470 t for the inshore fleets, 67 t for the swordfish longline fleet (as bycatch), 20 t for offshore bycatch in the fishery for other tuna species and 2 t for scientific tagging.

ICCAT assesses the western and eastern stocks of northern bluefin tuna Thunnus thynnus separately although mixing between stocks is known to occur and some proportion of the western stock is caught by the larger and wide-ranging fishery on the eastern stock.

Both the eastern and the western stocks of northern bluefin tuna are severely depleted and being overfished. In the most recent scientific assessment of the western stock by ICCAT (2008) two scenarios regarding recruitment potential were considered. Under low recruitment potential, spawning biomass was estimated at 57% of Bmsy and fishing mortality at 1.27 x Fmsy. Under high recruitment potential, spawning biomass was estimated at 14% of Bmsy and fishing mortality at 2.18 x Fmsy. Both scenarios are considered equally likely by ICCAT.

ICCAT found that under low recruitment potential, a total catch of 2,100 t is predicted to have at least a 50% chance of achieving the Convention objectives of preventing overfishing and rebuilding the stock to MSY levels by 2019, the target rebuilding time. Under high recruitment potential, the rebuilding target is higher and a total catch of less than 1,500 t is predicted to stop overfishing in 2009, but the stock would not be expected to rebuild by 2019 even with no fishing.

The TAC was set at 2,100 t in 2007 and 2008, lowered to 1,900 t in 2009 and 1,800 t in 2010. The TAC is intended to stop overfishing by 2010 and to rebuild the stock to Bmsy by 2019. The ICCAT 20 year rebuilding plan began in 1999 but half way through there has been no rebuilding. Although fishing mortality is estimated to have been decreasing recently, the stock is still being overfished (F>Fmsy). The next ICCAT scientific assessment of the stock is in September 2010.

In a press release Friday (2 June) the Canadian fisheries minister, Gail Shea stated “Our Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery is the best managed fishery of its kind in the world today, and we are starting to see the positive results of those efforts”. This statement was made following an informal meeting in Barcelona with Japan, Korea and other nations that, like Canada, voted against CITES listing of bluefin tuna earlier this year. The Minister’s department website has a link to a video it made called “Canada’s Bluefin Tuna Fishery: A Model for Sustainable Management”.

While maybe not a candidate for MSC certification (yet, as far as we know – remember MSC pre-assessment is secret) it would be interesting to speculate how the Canadian bluefin tuna fishery would score under the MSC three principles. It applies targeted fishing gear with minimal bycatch or damage to the environment, it is well monitored, abides by regulations, and is managed by an RFMO based on peer-reviewed scientific advice under clearly stated management objectives that address sustainability. This suggests that a passing grade would be obtained it went to assessment. After all, it is “A Model for Sustainable Management”!

But the question is: Can a fishery on a stock that is severely depleted and being overfished be considered “sustainable”?

By-the-way, COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) is currently reviewing western bluefin tuna as a potential candidate for listing as a species at risk of extinction under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) based on a decline in the population of more than 80% from historic levels. Given that the Gulf of Mexico is the spawning area for the entire western bluefin population and given BP’s recent little mishap, COSEWIC’s review may be very timely.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eco-certification of BC sockeye fisheries

British Columbia fisheries conservation organizations oppose Marine Stewardship Council certification of BC sockeye fisheries.

A number of organizations are objecting strongly to the announcement today of eco-certification of BC’s sockeye fisheries.

See list of spokespeople here:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

MSC extends certification of the South African hake trawl fishery while waiting for delayed reassessment

MSC reports on its website that there have been “unavoidable delays” in the reassessment of the South African hake trawl fishery by Moody Marine. This fishery was first certified as sustainable by MSC in 2004.
MSC has extended certification to the end of March 2010 to allow the ecolabel to continue to hold while the reassessment is completed.

In the reassessment report on the MSC website Moody Marine gives the fishery high passing scores for all three principles and recommends recertification.

The two independent reviewers contracted by Moody were Jake Rice, who is on salary as a bureaucrat with the Canadian federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans headquarters in Ottawa, and Michael Pawson, a stock assessment scientist who recently retired from the famous Lowestoft Fisheries Laboratory.  Rice has had a number of previous MSC-related contracts - he was on the assessment team that led to the controversial certification of South Georgia Patagonian Toothfish fishery and Alaskan Pollock surveillance audits and was part of the MSC Objections Panel for the New Zealand Hoki fishery.

Reviewer A (assumed to be Rice) stated “I find no major points of disagreement with the assessment” while Reviewer B (assumed to be Pawson) found major shortcomings. He states that “I nevertheless consider that some of the marks awarded are too high particularly in relation to the stock status of M. paradoxus (which appears to be in a very depleted state) and the lack of evidence that this has been ameliorated during the certification period …I therefore question the assessment that the overall Performance of the South African Hake Trawl Fishery passes in relation to MSC Principles 1, 2 and 3, and that the fishery be certified according to the Marine Stewardship Council Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fisheries.”

It seems unlikely that Pawson will get another MSC contract!

Pawson’s view that M. paradoxus is in a much depleted state is consistent with the published scientific literature. The fishery comprises two species, an inshore species and an offshore species. The offshore species, M paradoxus is the more important of the two in the trawl fishery. According to a report published in the African Journal of Science in 2008 by Rebecca Rademeyer and coauthors, the offshore hake stock collapsed prior to the last MSC assessment (biomass declined by more than 10% from the unfished state) and has not recovered while being managed by an “Operation Management Procedure” developed by fishery consultants at the University of Cape Town. The MSC report only admits to it being at 15% of the unfished state – nevertheless a severely depleted state.  Commonly fishery management plans assume that the biomass at 20% of the unfished state represents a precautionary approach limit reference point below which fishing should cease completely.

The hope is that a new OMP under development by consultants at the University of Cape Town will be more effective than their previous one in rebuilding the stock.   Maybe, but is that "hope" enough to certify a trawl fishery on a collapsed stock as “sustainable”?

Below are the baseline spawning biomass trajectories for the South African hake from the 2008 paper by Rademeyer

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Objection m'lord! - Three new lawyers appointed by MSC to adjudicate objections to certification

MSC has just announced the appointment of three new lawyers as "Independent Adjudicators" to deal with the increasing number of objections being received to the eco-certification of controversial fisheries as sustainable.  So far NO objection has resulted in an assessment of sustainability under the MSC process being overturned, and a number (most?) have been dismissed out of hand by the adjudicator as having insufficient grounds to proceed further.

The MSC website states that the the Independent Adjudicator will assess the objection to determine whether it has ‘a reasonable prospect of success'. This depends primarily on whether:
a. The objection identifies a serious procedural or other irregularity in the assessment process that made a material difference to the fairness of the assessment;
b. The score given for one or more performance indicators cannot be satisfactorily justified by the certifier due to factual errors, omission of relevant information or arbitrariness;
c. Additional information has been identified that is relevant to the assessment by the date of Determination and was not available or known to the certifier.

Most of the objections relate to shortcomings in the assignment of passing scores under the three MSC principles. These objections tend to be technical in nature related to fish population dynamics, stock assessment and the sustainability of management strategies. It is difficult to see how lawyers with no training in these areas could evaluate whether an objection should proceed.

If the objection is allowed to proceed, the certifier is given the opportunity to address the objection and then the adjudicator consults with the objector, the fishery and the certifier in order to determine whether the certifier has adequately addressed the issues raised in the objection.  If no resolution is achieved through consultation, the adjudicator will notify all parties that the matter will proceed to adjudication and convene an oral hearing of the objection.

If the objector(s) decides to proceed to oral hearing, they have to undertake to pay costs currently limited to £15,000.  During the oral hearing the objector(s), the certifier and the fishery present their respective cases.  The adjudicator may seek external expert advice on technical matters relating to the issues raised in the objection. (Hmmmm.....this part worries me a lot....the adjudicator can pick the technical would the adjudicator know who to pick and whether the advice was independent, expert and objective?)

Following the hearing, the adjudicator issues a written decision either confirming the original Determination by the certifier or remanding the Determination by the certifier. If the Determination is remanded the certifier must submit a written response to the MSC, the fishery and the objector.  The adjudicator then either accepts the response as an adequate resolution of the matters raised in the remand and approves the original (or amended Determination) or upholds the objection.  The certifier then amends the Final Report and Determination in the light of the findings and this forms the basis for the Public Certification Report.

Link to news item:

Saturday, January 9, 2010

NZ intercepts pirate tooth-fish long-liner “Carmela” in the Ross Sea

A Togolese-flagged vessel Carmela was apprehended Wednesday catching toothfish in the Ross Sea, an area managed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing puts the sustainability of the profitable toothfish fishery in jeopardy.

The fishing vessel Carmela was utilising deep sea gillnets – which are banned in the CCAMLR Convention Area and can have deleterious effects on non-target marine animals and the ecosystem through ghost fishing by lost or discarded nets.

Carmela is believed to be the former Gold Dragon, a vessel included on CCAMLR's IUU vessel blacklist. New Zealand reported the interception to CCAMLR such that other Commission Members do not allow the vessel to use their ports or allow the import of fish caught by the vessel.