The following letter was sent to IntraFish by Jay Lugar, program director for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in Canada, in response to the article, Marine Stewardship Council 'sets a very low bar for wild salmon sustainability.
We are disappointed in how the article characterized the MSC Fishery Standard, especially in light of the great efforts and lengths to which the BC salmon fishery went to achieve and maintain its certification.
The MSC sets a globally agreed high bar for best practice in sustainable fishing and includes a requirement for ongoing improvements where these are needed.
In 2017 the BC sockeye, chum and pink salmon fishery was the first salmon fishery to be re-certified to the updated MSC Fisheries Standard 2.0 using the newly adopted Salmon Assessment Methodology specifically developed over four years to bring precision to special salmon management approaches.
This includes specific requirements for salmon fisheries, and measures to protect the wider ecosystem. Ongoing certification is conditional upon fisheries continuing to meet and deliver these commitments.
Only well managed fisheries that ensure the long-term sustainability of fish stocks and minimize ecosystem impacts can achieve MSC certification.
Principle 2 of the MSC Fisheries Standard covers ecosystem impacts by the fishery, such as ensuring the fishery leaves salmon for other predators. MSC certified fisheries must meet 15 indicators under this principle.
The BC salmon self-suspension is disappointing news for the fishery and those who source MSC-certified salmon from British Columbia.
The MSC commends the Canadian Pacific Sustainable Fisheries Society for its expressed commitment to continue working on a plan that will address the challenges the fishery faces so it can be re-evaluated and re-certified in the future.
Retailers and consumers can be assured that MSC-certified salmon will continue to be available from other fisheries.