Bad news for Canadian salmon (update)
Last week I wrote about the efforts of certain companies to deceive consumers into thinking they are purchasing sustainably caught fish.
If you remember, I discussed the problematic Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which offers eco-certification to fisheries across the globe and has never refused the certification to any fishery that has completed the certification process. Ahem.
Well, it turns out that the independent adjudicator has ruled in favor of MSC last Monday, which means that the endangered Fraser sockeye salmon stocks have been ruled sustainable. Environmentalists are wailing and independent salmon trollers railing.
The certifier will now submit the Final Certification Report to MSC, recommending that the Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery be certified as sustainable. The certifier may issue a certificate and MSC would announce certification after a final internal MSC review of the documents takes place.
So what’s the problem?
“This certification could actually result in well-intentioned consumers buying an endangered Fraser River sockeye with an eco-label on it,” explained Jeffrey Young, aquatic biologist with the David Suzuki Foundation, one of the groups who filed a notice of objection to the MSC’s intent to provide eco-certification to the stock.
I would like to reiterate that some Fraser River sockeye stocks harvested in the fishery that is getting certified by MSC are already classified as “endangered” by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, and “critically endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, whose scientists consider overfishing a key threat to the stocks’ health.
Further, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) recently set up a commission to study the decline of the Fraser River salmon stock.
This is definitely bad timing for an eco-certification, don’t you think?
Next time you’re shopping for seafood, remember that MSC-certified seafood is probably not actually sustainably fished, and steer clear of Fraser River sockeye salmon.