Undercurrent News, 1 August 2022
The Global Tuna Alliance (GTA) is warning The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) that they face having their MSC certification suspended if they fail to address their stock harvest strategies by the end of the year. Currently, there are 30 tuna fisheries in the region with the MSC label, or in assessment, and those certified accounts for three-quarters of MSC-certified tuna.
Our thoughts: It is vital that fisheries, especially those carrying a stamp of sustainability, have precautionary harvest strategies in place, regardless of whether the stock is currently abundant. As GTA stated in the article, “Managing fisheries without harvest strategies is like having a house with no roof. It’s fine while the sun is shining, but when the weather turns, it’ll be too late. These stocks may be ‘green’ currently but the voice of the market is calling for future-proofing to weather the inevitable storms ahead.”
Should these fisheries fail to implement appropriate harvest control rules by the end of the year, we hope that the MSC will make the right decision, in line with the program’s purpose and suspend those fisheries that do not meet the MSC Fisheries Standard, despite the volume of the fisheries involved. Based on the proposed Standard it appears that even those fisheries will have at least another two years to come into compliance, further extending the timeframe for fisheries that will have been certified for almost 10 years without HCR in place.