Just last week my colleague, Dr. Scott Wallace, raised concerns about the possibility that the UK-based Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) would certify one of Canada's worst fisheries, the Atlantic swordfish longline fishery that catches too many endangered loggerhead turtles. Today, the MSC announced the certification of all of Canadian sockeye salmon fisheries. Some of these fisheries are (nearly) sustainable, or are at least moving in the right direction. But certifying the Fraser River sockeye fishery, which is now the subject of a federal judicial inquiry after further declines in endangered runs and three of the lowest returns on record, makes no sense.
As Scott put it, a certification of this kind threatens the credibility and value of the MSC logo and risks confusing consumers. My assumption is that people that make the effort to choose an eco-labelled sockeye are expecting that it isn't coming from a fishery that continues to harm endangered salmon, or might even be an endangered sockeye itself!
The David Suzuki Foundation, along with other conservation organizations, will be preparing a formal objection to this certification. Our aim will be to have certification of the Fraser sockeye fishery at least delayed until the results of the judicial inquiry are being implemented. The other three sockeye fisheries (Barkley Sound, Skeena and Nass) also require much stronger commitments to fisheries improvements from the federal government before they should receive the MSC's blue logo.
Read the full story (Sustainable sockeye 'eco-fraud', Globe and Mail), including comment from Jeffery Young, here.