27 Nov 2020
The introduction of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) in tuna fisheries has resulted in economic gains, it has come at a high ecological cost and an increase in IUU activities from unregulated and drifting FADs and suggest ‘introducing a transparent FAD ownership tracking system and requiring FAD owners to mitigate their impacts could substantially improve the effectiveness of tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) and redirect market incentives to properly support tuna management’.Impacts at the MSC level could include:
- ‘A FAD ownership registration scheme and the inclusion of FADs in the Unit of Assessment would provide the MSC the ability to certify tuna fisheries under the proposed new standard (full trip basis), without having to separate FAD-Caught from FAD-Free tuna sets.
- FAD ownership registration would end the current MSC practice of certifying fisheries engaged in IUU FAD activities, against its own certification Standard.
- FAD ownership registration would provide the MSC with the possibility of certifying FAD-Caught tuna if MSC Principle 2 criteria are met via mitigation of negative impacts associated with FADs.
- MSC-certified FAD-related fisheries may be required to implement Action Plans to mitigate overall FAD ecosystem impacts to satisfy certification conditions. This would particularly benefit ETP species.’
Our thoughts: We do not foresee that this will have any significant impact on MSC tuna certifications other than raising the Best Practice bar in some fisheries that might not yet be certified. Despite many discussions on extremely relevant issues around FADs, these remain unresolved and have huge impacts on the ecosystem, impacting both Principle 2 (Ecosystem and Bycatch) and Principle 3 (Management) in the MSC Standard.
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