Navigation Links
'Sustainable fishing' certification too lenient and discretionary, study finds
Date:4/10/2013

The certification of seafood as "sustainable" by the nonprofit Marine Stewardship Council is too lenient and discretionary, a study by a consortium of researchers has found.

"When consumers want sustainable fish there are two options to meet the demand: fisheries can become more sustainable or the definition of sustainable can be watered down to be practically meaninglesswith MSC seafood, the definition has been repeatedly watered down," said Jennifer Jacquet, a clinical assistant professor in New York University's Environmental Studies Program and one of 11 authors of the study, which appears in the journal Biological Conservation.

The study may be read here: http://bit.ly/ZFKU5Y.

The expansion of fishing in the oceansfurther offshore, deeper, and for different specieshas led to the depletion of many marine fish populations. In response, market-based efforts aimed at consumers, which include "eco-labeling," have emerged to change demand. Among these was the establishment of the London-based Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in 1997. A joint project between World Wildlife Fund and Unilever, MSC was created as a conservation toolintended to provide "the best environmental choice in seafood" to consumers and to create positive incentives that would improve the status and management of fisheries.

However, conservation groups have raised concerns about MSC's certification process, calling into question the organization's claim that its eco-labeling program is "the best environmental choice in seafood." Its certification process is paid for by the fisheries, with rates dependent on the size and complexity of the fishery. MSC estimates that most certifications cost between $15,000 and $120,000. Since its founding, MSC has attached its certified label to more than 170 fisheries, with fishery clients spending between $2.3 and $18.7 million on certification.

To gauge the viability of MSC's labeling program, the researchers examined 19 formal objectionsraised primarily by environmental groups and amounting to one-third, by weight, of all MSC-certified seafoodto certifications MSC has granted to fisheries for Chilean sea bass, Antarctic krill, and others. Objections are heard by an independent adjudicator appointed by MSC. In all but one of these 19 cases, the certification was upheld.

In the Biological Conservation analysis, the researchers sought to determine whether these fisheries, in fact, met the MSC's principles for certification.

The MSC uses three major principles that third-party certifiers interpret in determining whether a fishery is "sustainable" and may use the MSC label: sustainability of the target fish stock; low impacts on the ecosystem; and effective management. However, the researchers found many of these fisheriesrepresenting 35 percent of eco-labeled seafooddid not meet MSC standards.

For instance, the longline fishery for swordfish in Canada appears to violate the "low impacts on the ecosystem" principle. This fishery has high levels of bycatchsea life accidentally caught in pursuit of other fish. The targeted catch of 20,000 swordfish per year results in bycatch of approximately 100,000 sharks as well as 1,200 endangered loggerhead and 170 critically endangered leatherback turtles.

"The MSC's narrow definition of sustainability is out of step with the general public perception of what that term means," said Claire Christian, one of the study's co-authors and a policy analyst at the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. "When the MSC labels a swordfish fishery that catches more sharks than swordfish 'sustainable,' it's time to re-evaluate its standards."

The Alaska pollock fishery, one of the largest fisheries in the US, also received MSC certification even though, the researchers noted, several court rulings had determined that the fishery was not in compliance with national lawan indication that it didn't meet MSC's "effective management" principle.

The authors believe the MSC needs to enforce the principles it created for certified fisheries. Otherwise, consumers believe they are buying "the best environmental choice" in seafood, when in fact there is a very good chance they are not.


'/>"/>

Contact: James Devitt
james.devitt@nyu.edu
212-998-6808
New York University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Breakthrough could lead to cheaper, more sustainable chemical production
2. Towards more sustainable construction
3. Report: Water and Agriculture in Canada: Towards Sustainable Management of Water Resources
4. The genome of diamondback moth provides new clues for sustainable pest management
5. Tree seeds offer potential for sustainable biofuels
6. Study finds healthy seafood comes from sustainable fish
7. Refining the tool kit for sustainable fisheries
8. A shortcut to sustainable fisheries
9. Maryland gets its first Certified Sustainable community: Berlin
10. Beating famine: Sustainable food security through land regeneration in a changing climate
11. Indonesian fishing communities find balance between biodiversity and development
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... and LONDON , April 26, ... of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys ... announced a partnership to integrate the Onegini mobile ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) ... customers enhanced security to access and transact across ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  ,      ... gait biometrics market is expected to grow at ... Gait analysis generates multiple variables such ... compute factors that are not or cannot be ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... PROVIDENCE, R.I. , March 31, 2016  Genomics ... leadership of founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., ... addition, members of the original technical leadership team, including ... Vice President of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice ... have returned to the company. Dr. Bready ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... A person commits a crime, and the detective ... the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness ... (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that ... It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge ... illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a precision ... million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). ... and to advance its drug development efforts, as well ... "SVB has been an incredible strategic partner ... a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. Aeron ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... BEACH, Calif. , June 23, 2016  Blueprint ... new biological discoveries to the medical community, has closed ... co-founder Matthew Nunez . "We have ... us with the capital we need to meet our ... will essentially provide us the runway to complete validation ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... line of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining ... Chicago. The result of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: