The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is raising the alarm that "unjustified high scores" may be paving the way for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of the world's first bluefin tuna fishery.

Certification group Control Union Pesca Ltd., which is conducting the audit of the Usufuku Honten Northeast Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery, ignored key objections raised by WWF, which it first raised on Jan. 24.

At the time, the MSC said the objection was being reviewed by an independent adjudicator who follows "a formal process for objections."

WWF questioned the impartiality of the certification body, noting concerns were raised during an audit of the process by the MSC's assurance partner.

"The audit resulted in a red flag being raised for numerous points, for instance, Control Union assured the fishery that it would be the first bluefin tuna fishery to receive a MSC certification when the assessor is required to be independent, objective and impartial," the release said.

"WWF maintains that Control Union have too frequently deferred to their expert judgement rather than take a precautionary approach."

The MSC has since released a statement in support of Control Union and the audit process.