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MSC Usufuku Honten Northeast Atlantic longline bluefin tuna fishery

MSC reaffirms rigurosity of certification process of fisheries in assessment

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Monday, January 27, 2020, 00:00 (GMT + 9)

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has received an objection from WWF to the recommendation of independent assessors, Control Union Pesca Ltd, to certify the Usufuku Honten Northeast Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery to the MSC Fisheries Standard.

The longline fishery, which is a single vessel with a quota to catch 200-400 bluefin tuna in the Eastern Atlantic, is in the final stages of independent assessment. Contrary to some reports, the fishery has not been certified.


Location: 27 (Atlantic, Northeast)

This is the first time any independent assessment of bluefin stocks in the Eastern Atlantic has been carried out using the MSC’s standard for sustainable fishing. Input from a wide range of stakeholders is vital throughout the assessment process. It ensures the independent assessor takes all available information into account when deciding if a fishery is or is not sustainable.

The objection raised by WWF is being reviewed by an independent adjudicator who follows a formal process for objections. The independent adjudicator will decide whether to accept, dismiss or request clarification from WWF. Once the independent adjudicator has made their decision, the notice of objection will be published on the assessment pages for this fishery on msc.org.

Dr Rohan Currey, Chief Science and Standards Officer at the MSC said:

“Scientific evidence on bluefin recovery in the Eastern Atlantic is encouraging. The historic overexploitation of bluefin globally shows why it is so important to understand and incentivise the sustainable management of bluefin fisheries. The whole assessment process, which is ongoing for this fishery, happens entirely independently of the MSC so we can’t say what the overall outcome will be.”

Shofuku-maru No.1 (Photo: Graham Buchen Innes/Marine Traffic)

Usufuku Honten was established in 1882. The Usufuku Honten boat being independently assessed to the MSC standard, the Dai-ichi Shofuku-maru (Shofuku-maru No.1), has a less than 0.2 per cent share of the ICCAT Total Allowable Catch for 2020. Its catch is verified by the Japan Fisheries Authority as well as ICCAT.  The Dai-ichi Shofuku-maru caught an average of 292 bluefin tuna per year weighing around 150 kg each between 2012-18. The catch is quickly frozen onboard, then shipped to Japan.

Related article:

- WWF formally objetcs MSC certification of bluefin tuna fishery



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