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February 9, 2010

Alaskan fisheries gain sought after certification

According to a statement released by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) , two Pacific cod fisheries have earned MSC certification.  From the Kodiak, Alaska, Daily Mirror:

. . . MSC is an international nonprofit organization that promotes solutions to the issue of over-fishing.  It also runs the only certification and ecolabeling program for wild-capture fisheries consistent with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards and the United Nations FAO guidelines for fisheries certification. 

[Certification was based on] MSC’s three main principles: status of the fish stock, impact of the fishery on the marine ecosystem and the management system overseeing the fishery. These fisheries also will undergo annual surveillance audits.

MSC has hope that these most recent certifications will give consumers more options and information when shopping for cod at local groceries and markets.  According to the statement released by MSC :

. . . We anticipate that this certification will result in additional cod products bearing the MSC ecolabel, which will increase the opportunity for consumers to choose seafood that has been independently verified as coming from a sustainable, well-managed source.

MSC promotes its certification mark as a marketing plus:

. . . the MSC brings a range of potential benefits to any company in the supply chain 'from boat to plate'. With consumers and seafood buyers increasingly aware of the importance of healthy oceans, being part of a secure, traceable supply chain selling certified sustainable seafood makes good business sense.

 However the MSC’s certification process has been criticized as not going far enough to establish a true sustainable fishery. According to  Greenpeace, the MSC certification process has some strengths, but overall has many weaknesses. Some of the weaknesses:

    . . . certification requirements are not stringent and weak language is used . . . MSC standards fail to proscribe destructive catching methods, such as trawling or dredging. . . MSC certifies fisheries with depleted stock, which can never be consistent with a sustainable approach. 

 This post was prepared by William Mitchell College of Law student Nathan Midolo.  Mr. Midolo is a student of Professor Donna M. Byrne.

February 9, 2010 in Fisheries | Permalink

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