The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has for the first time suspended a certification.
The suspension means langoustine caught in Loch Torridon in the west of Scotland can no longer be labelled as MSC-certified.
MSC certification is supposed to show a fishery meets the MSC’s principles and criteria for sustainability (ENDS Report 432, pp 23-24).
The Loch Torridon langoustine certification was partly based on a ‘management plan code of conduct’ agreed by local fishermen. But certification body Moody Marine says the fishery has been attracting an increasing number of boats. Many of these have not signed the code of conduct.
“As long as the area is open to allcomers, with over half the fleet not having signed up to the management plan code of conduct, it is not possible to respond… to the need to reduce fishing effort to maintain or re-build stock levels,” the MSC said.
The number of MSC-certified fisheries has grown rapidly to about 100 over the past few years. Together they catch more than four million tonnes of fish and shellfish a year – 7% of the global catch for human consumption.
Some scientists have complained about the sustainability of fisheries certified by the MSC and say the scheme lacks teeth (ENDS Report 428, p 27). The MSC rejects their claims.