Considerations and comments on the proposed updates to the MSC fisheries standards
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has undertaken a public review of its proposed updates to its Fisheries Standard. Consistent with its duties under the 2003 Antigua Convention and the 1998 Agreement on the International Program for the Conservation of Dolphins (AIDCP), the IATTC staff has carefully considered and discussed that proposal. Specifically, the proposed changes to the scope of which fisheries may be considered by MSC for certification are a source of great concern and alarm, since they would exclude ex ante from the process of certification all fisheries that would be considered as “intentionally harassing” marine mammals including that set on marine mammals while targeting other species In the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO), this would mean excluding from any possible consideration an important component of the fishery sector of the 14 States that are Parties to the AIDCP, which comprises the fishermen companies that participate in the purse seine fishery for yellowfin tuna in association with dolphins. Such an exclusion, in our opinion, not only would cause an extraordinary prejudice to that sector and these countries but also would impact negatively the AIDCP and its implementation. It would also run counter to MSC’s stated mission of rewarding sustainable fishing practices and its practice of a sciencebased evaluation process.