Southeast U.S. North Atlantic swordfish fishery enters MSC full assessment process

March 16, 2010 10:25

The Southeast U.S. North Atlantic swordfish  (Xiphias gladius) pelagic longline and handgear buoy line fishery represented by Day Boat Seafood LLC is entering full assessment in the Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) certification program for sustainable and well-managed fisheries, reports with reference to MSC.

 The fishery, which operates in the exclusive economic zone of the United States off the U.S. east coast south of 31° N Latitude, will be assessed against the MSC standard and, if successful, products sold through Day Boat Seafood LLC will be eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel recognizing products from well-managed and sustainable sources.
About the Southeast U.S. North Atlantic swordfish fishery

In 2008, the pelagic longline fishery landed 2,300 metric tons of swordfish and the buoy handgear fishery landed 55.7 metric tons.  The fishery operates year-round with its products, primarily fresh swordfish, sold throughout the U.S. market.  The client for the assessment is Florida-based Day Boat Seafood LLC.
What the fishery says

"Day Boat Seafood LLC is pleased to proceed to full assessment for MSC certification of the Southeast U.S. North Atlantic swordfish fishery," said Debbie Lewis, director of compliance and sustainability for Day Boat Seafood LLC.  "Because we share the seafood sustainability concerns of our customers and see an increasing demand in sourcing from sustainable fisheries, we are eager to measure the fishery against the MSC's international sustainability standards.  Our involvement demonstrates our long-term commitment to our customer's needs and values, to the protection of the future of our fishermen and their communities, and to the preservation of this valuable resource for future generations."
What the MSC says

"We are excited that Day Boat Seafood is moving forward with full assessment against the MSC standard for the Southeast U.S. North Atlantic swordfish fishery," said Kerry Coughlin, the Americas regional director for the MSC.  "If they are successful, MSC certification will offer consumers and buyers this environmentally responsible option for swordfish, and will potentially encourage other fisheries to consider certification for their own harvests"

This swordfish fishery along the U.S. southeast coast is managed in federal waters by the U.S. government through NOAA Fisheries (Highly Migratory Division) under the auspices of the Magnuson-Stevens Conservation and Management Act and the Atlantic Tuna Conventions Act. Catches from this fishery are predominantly from federal waters.  The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) has international authority to manage swordfish in the Atlantic Ocean, set annual harvest levels and assign national quotas to the United States and other ICCAT member countries. 
About the certifier

Day Boat Seafood has contracted with MRAG Americas, Inc. to conduct the independent, third-party assessment, which is expected to take 12 to 14 months.  A team of scientific experts will be convened to evaluate the fishery based on the three core principles of the MSC standard:  the sustainability of the fish stock, its impact on the environment and the management system in place.

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