The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has today announced that a Japanese longline fishery is set to become the first bluefin tuna fishery to achieve MSC certification. Eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna was on the verge of collapse less than two decades ago and conservation groups believe that the certification will hinder the full recovery of the stock.
Despite objections raised by WWF and The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Usufuku Honten longline fishery will achieve certification, pending minor amendments to the assessor’s final report.
The MSC’s Chief Science and Standards Officer, Dr Rohan Currey said: “To meet MSC’s Standard, a fishery must meet a high bar of sustainability and be committed to continual improvements. Usufuku Honten has worked hard to reach that standard, and we appreciate the contributions of all parties involved in this two-year process.
“However, we must be mindful that other stocks of bluefin tuna are not in such good shape as the Eastern Atlantic. Our collective challenge is to ensure the sustainable fishing of all bluefin tuna globally.”
However, conservation groups worry that this certification is jumping the gun.
Charles Clover, Executive Director of Blue Marine Foundation said: “We strongly oppose the certification of the Eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna. Certifying a species that, less than twenty years ago, was pushed to near extinction is unimaginably short-sighted – these powerful predators deserve to be given more time to recover”.