In May, several prominent conservation groups wrote a letter to the MSC STAC & TAB to raise concerns about several weaknesses in the draft fisheries standard presented by the MSC earlier this year. Last week, the same group sent a press release, ‘raising concerns about significant weaknesses in the proposed revisions to the Fisheries Standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification program.’ As we approach the final stages of this Fishery Standard Review, many groups are becoming increasingly concerned by the lack of improvements in the draft Standard, despite voicing their clear concern through official consultation and publicly.
Concerns raised include:
- Economic reasons will prevail over recovery of endangered, threatened and protected species
- Lax requirements will delay foundational improvements in fisheries management
- Minimum thresholds for independent observation will be jeopardised
- The proposed Fins Naturally Attached (FNA) requirement will be undermined by ambiguity
- Certifying Bodies (CABs) will have too much discretion
Some of our member organisations are part of the group that was involved in this effort, and they stated:
Shannon Arnold, Ecology Action Center, said: “Confidence in any standard requires that its claims are backed up by independently verified data. In February, we welcomed signals from the MSC indicating that it was moving toward requiring minimum monitoring thresholds in order for fisheries to be certified. It is a deeply worrying sign that these requirements now seem to have been discarded and that stakeholders have not had the chance to give input on these changes.”
Iris Ziegler, Sharkproject International, said: “We need all hands on deck to stop a vast wave of sharks and rays from going extinct on our watch and the MSC needs to start leading the charge toward global best practice. ‘Zero tolerance’ for shark finning requires a watertight standard and quantitative evidence for compliance. There is too much at stake to continue trusting that fisheries will comply voluntarily.”
Our thoughts: We are very pleased to see these prominent groups draw further attention to the shortcomings of the draft standard. We have voiced many of the same concerns throughout this process. It is clear that stakeholders are not happy with the contents of the drafts and further improvements must be made to maintain the credibility of the MSC certification.
Additional news coverage on the press release: