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:5/12/2016)... May 12, 2016 WearablesResearch.com , a ... the overview results from the Q1 wave of its ... wave was consumers, receptivity to a program where they ... a health insurance company. "We were surprised ... says Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... FRANCISCO and BANGALORE, India , ... of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... provider, today announced a global partnership that will ... way to use mobile banking and payment services. ... is a key innovation area for financial services, but it ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... DUBLIN , April 27, 2016 ... of the  "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report ... ) , The analysts forecast ... a CAGR of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... a number of sectors such as the healthcare, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/19/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 19, 2016 , ... ... research organization (CRO) has welcomed Abu Siddiqui as Director, Large Molecule & Biomarker ... executing biologics, vaccine and translational biomarker discovery studies for preclinical and clinical safety ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... 19, 2016 - I dati ... durante il 52 ° Congresso ... - Le conclusioni dello studio indicano un ... trattati, di cui il 90% presenta una d urata ... più. Il settantadue per cento dei pazienti ha riscontrato un ...
(Date:5/18/2016)... , ... May 18, 2016 , ... ... Sciences Summer Camp at The University of Toledo. This two-day camp will take ... opportunity to explore the field of pharmaceutical sciences in preparation for a university ...
(Date:5/18/2016)... ON (PRWEB) , ... May 18, 2016 , ... STACS ... DNA laboratories to easily track and report sexual assault kit processing to help them ... of attention as pressure escalates for kits to be processed and victims informed of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: