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Antarctic toothfish certified as sustainable

Antarctic toothfish certified as sustainable

Friday 19 November

The world’s leading programme for environmental certification of seafood has given Ross Sea Antarctic toothfish the green light.

The fishery has met the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) independently-assessed standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries, scoring an average of 89.7 out of a possible 100 points across a range of sustainability criteria.

It has been subject to an intensive review process, including two years of analysis and peer review and another full year of objections and review by an independent adjudicator, says Sealord’s GM International Fishing, Ross Tocker.

“We welcome this level of scrutiny because ensuring sustainability is the bedrock of our business. The MSC process provides the most rigorous process available, and it needs to be – if it were easy it would be meaningless.

“The MSC is the world’s leading environmental certifier of seafood. We are pleased the programme’s independent assessors have recognised the careful and precautionary management of this fishery.”

Antarctic toothfish is governed by the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which regulates all fishing in the Antarctic region.

“CCAMLR’s current permitted level of fishing for Antarctic toothfish is set at a precautionary limit which maintains the population at a significantly higher level than used for many other certified fisheries. This is an acknowledgement that the fishery is still being developed and there is a need for greater scientific knowledge. The Antarctic marine environment is acknowledged as being of special importance.”

Antarctic toothfish brought New Zealand $18 million in export earnings for the year ended June 2010. Major markets are in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan.

There are four New Zealand vessels in the fishery. The New Zealand companies involved are Sanford, Sealord and Talley’s.

The certification is for a period of five years and is subject to periodic review against an agreed action plan.


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