Assessment of North West Atlantic Canada longline swordfish fishery against the MSC standard – UPDATE

March 14, 2011 09:36

Independent certifier, Moody Marine Limited, yesterday published the Public Comment Draft Report (PCDR) of its assessment of the North West Atlantic Canada longline swordfish against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fisheries standard.  There is now a 30 day period (closing 11 April) for stakeholders to submit comments on the PCDR, for review, consideration and response by the certification assessment team, reports with reference to MSC.

The provisional recommendation by the certifier is that the fishery should be certified to the MSC standard. It is a draft report and the fishery is not certified to the MSC standard.  The certifier's recommendation has been reached in accordance with the MSC process which requires a detailed assessment of the fishery's performance against the Principles and Criteria of the MSC standard by an independent team of fishery experts.  The draft report has also been peer reviewed by two further scientists with particular expertise relevant to the fishery under assessment.

In the next step of the assessment process, after the consultation period has closed and all stakeholder submissions have been considered, the certifier will revise the draft report and make a further determination as to whether the fishery should be certified as meeting the MSC standard.

Chris Ninnes, MSC Deputy Chief Executive, said: "One of the strengths of the MSC program is the transparency of its processes and the opportunities it affords to all stakeholders to examine and comment on the draft recommendations of the assessment team.  All stakeholder submissions and certifier responses will be published in the next iteration of the assessment report."

For information on the content of the PCDR and to comment contact Amanda Park of Moody Marine Ltd at

For information on the MSC certification process and the MSC Fisheries Assessment Methodology, contact Maylynn Nunn at

The swordfish fishery

The pelagic longline swordfish fishery entered full assessment on 13 March 2009, alongside the harpoon swordfish fishery. The harpoon unit of the fishery, which accounts for approximately 200-300 tonnes of the total annual swordfish catch, was certified to the MSC standard on 18 June 2010. Products from the harpoon fishery are eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel.

The pelagic longline unit, which is still under assessment, operates from early June to November and comprises 77 license holders with individual quotas. Landings using longline gear are around 1,100 tonnes per year.

The Canadian swordfish quota is set in accordance with the recommendations of ICCAT, and allocated to different sectors of the swordfish fleet by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

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