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- Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 22 April 2013
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Fraser River sockeye salmon certification under criticism
After intense criticism of the recent MSC certification of Fraser River sockeye salmon, the MSC defends.
MSC came forward to defend its certification British Columbia’s (BC) Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery as it was severely criticized by the three BC conservation groups. The conservation groups – the David Suzuki Foundation, Skeena Wild Conservation Trust and Watershed Watch Salmon Society – were outraged that the appointed independent adjudicator (IA) Wylie Spicer did not uphold an objection they filed in the assessment.
MSC comment that the Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery has been virtually closed to non-First Nation commercial fishing for the last three seasons because of declines in the stocks returning from open water. DFO managed the fishery and based on the actual run returns, whether to open the fishery and to what extent; a decision could come in late July and if any fisheries were to open, this would commence during the first week of August at the earliest.
The organization also said that the MSC certification of the BC sockeye fishery is confirmation that it is being well- managed for sustainability and includes specific conditions to improve the stock. Certification is not a conclusion that the stock is currently abundant or that fishing should or shouldn’t be taking place at any given time.
The conservationists claimed there was no way these kinds of endangered salmon should be considered a sustainable choice. This certification could actually result in well-intentioned consumers buying an endangered Fraser River sockeye with an eco-label on it.
In 2008, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red-listed some sub-populations (stocks) of sockeye within the Fraser and Skeena Rivers. Some were listed as critically endangered, others as endangered, and others as vulnerable. The IUCN red-listings focus on smaller sub populations and their red designations drew criticism from many in the scientific community who most closely work with these populations (Pacific Salmon Commission, DFO).
It was claim that the MSC process has flaw. MSC said that their standard, methodologies and procedures were developed by hundreds of fishery scientists, conservation organisations, industry, and others working collaboratively. The MSC has a Board of Trustees, Technical Advisory Board and Stakeholder Council to ensure the MSC programme is regularly reviewed and that it remains the world’s most rigorous and credible environmental standard for the certification of wild capture fisheries.
WorldFishingToday d. 09-08-2010