Marine Stewardship Council pauses new requirements for seafood sustainability

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), whose blue examine mark is a world image of seafood sustainability, has been pressured to pause and rework its newest fisheries commonplace lower than a yr after it was launched.

The London-based non-profit group is responding to complaints by fishing business teams around the globe, together with main gamers in Atlantic Canada, that the brand new commonplace is imprecise and unworkable.

“There have been challenges and that is why we’re taking the motion we’re as we speak to verify there’s readability. So folks can see the bar they should meet and might achieve this effectively,” stated Jay Lugar, head of fisheries outreach at MSC in Canada.

“We missed the mark in a number of the components and a number of the clarities I believe that have been wanted in model three of the usual, which is why we’re enterprise this pause,'” Lugar stated.

The transfer is being greeted with reduction by one Canadian business group representing a number of Atlantic fisheries and scorned by an environmental group.

MSC stated it’ll introduce an up to date commonplace in July after which conduct an unbiased evaluation of latest necessities for proof, probably the most contentious factor within the new commonplace.

Earlier commonplace OK for now

“Among the many points to be addressed is whether or not the framework may be utilized in a extra environment friendly method, resulting in much less complexity and value. Enter from [non-governmental organizations] and business stakeholders shall be sought in the middle of the evaluation,” MSC stated in a Jan. 31 announcement.

Jay Lugar is the top of fisheries outreach on the Marine Stewardship Council in Canada. (CBC)

Fisheries wishing to recertify shall be allowed to make use of the earlier commonplace for an additional two years till February 2026, as will new fisheries wishing to enter the MSC program.

The up to date model shall be necessary by 2030.

“We have now all had important issues,” stated Steve Devitt, director of sustainability with the Atlantic Groundfish Council. It represents 5 MSC-certified fisheries within the area, together with the southwestern Nova Scotia haddock fishery and halibut harvesters all through a lot of Atlantic Canada.

For instance, he stated a new requirement to show that harm from ghost gear is “demonstrably absent” cannot be met.

Confusion over ghost gear

“How do you show that? Effectively, it is basically unattainable to show {that a} loss, a bit of misplaced gear, has zero impression. We do not understand how to try this,” Devitt stated.

“That phrase particularly is a priority to us and requires clarification. Are you speaking in regards to the gear itself? Are you saying that there ought to be no misplaced gear?”

man sits in front of web camera.
Steve Devitt is the director of sustainability with the Atlantic Groundfish Council. (CBC)

Lugar from MSC stated confusion over ghost gear shall be mounted.

“That’s one specific factor that we’re positively going to handle on this amended model,” he stated.

Lugar stated refinements may be made “with out adjusting the sustainability efficiency degree.”

“We do not wish to see fisheries simply go away as a result of they get pissed off. We wish them to proceed to attempt to obtain sustainability outcomes,” he stated.

Environmental group rejects business claims

A Halifax environmental group stated the Marine Stewardship Council has taken a step again.

Shannon Arnold, affiliate director of marine applications on the Ecology Motion Centre, rejects business claims.

A woman and a man, wearing waterproof jackets, stand in a boat out on the water.
Shannon Arnold, left, is an affiliate director of marine applications on the Ecology Motion Centre. (Moira Donovan/CBC)

“The necessities that these business teams are complaining about probably the most, like offering higher details about what they’re pulling from the water, how they’re fishing, what are their impacts on the setting and endangered species and displaying that they’ve clear proof that they are even complying with guidelines which are on the market already,” Arnold stated. 

“This has been coming down the pipeline for a decade. , it is not a shock that that is going to be required and lots of it’s achievable.”

Questions round testing the brand new commonplace

MSC took 4 years to develop the brand new commonplace after what it known as “probably the most complete evaluation in 25 years.”

However Devitt stated it was launched with out “hardcore” testing it on precise fisheries.

Opinions differ on what occurred when an authorized Canadian fisher was examined beneath the brand new commonplace.

Devitt stated it got here throughout various points beneath the brand new guidelines “that precipitated the general scoring to basically fail the fishery.”

Lugar stated the check was not an sufficient evaluation and the outcomes have been “deceptive.”

“After additional dialogue with the folks concerned in that testing, they realized that in precise truth it does go.”

Neither would determine the fishery.

2-year extension

The 2-year extension will enable the Maritime lobster fleet to recertify as a sustainable MSC fishery in 2025 beneath the older commonplace.

Geoff Irvine of the Lobster Council of Canada stated in December the fishery wouldn’t meet the third-party monitoring required within the new commonplace.

“It is a gold-standard program. However we additionally know that we might not be capable to follow MSC. So we’re different choices and there is some lively issues occurring there,” Irvine informed CBC Information.

Devitt stated fisheries in Canada and around the globe have been left questioning whether or not they might meet the brand new 200-page commonplace as written.

“We’re happy to see that the MSC have acknowledged they should put the brakes on this and have some consideration about what the result of this may very well be within the worldview,” he stated.

“If rapidly fisheries that carry out very extremely towards the gold commonplace, as a result of the MSC commonplace is the gold commonplace for eco-certification for wild seize fisheries, it could not look good to have these fisheries considerably change, their efficiency be considerably modified with none precise change within the observe of the fishery.”

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