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Catalyzing fisheries sustainability through certification and eco-labeling schemes /Food security and the oceans (sustainable fisheries and aquaculture)

Room: Carron A     2014-08-17; 11:00 - 13:00

NB: Unless specified otherwise, presentations are 15 minutes in length, and speed presentations are 5 mins in length.

SY5.1  11:00  Can certification contribute to the global fisheries solutions? Agnew, D *, Standards Director, MSC ;

Abstract: Certification operates at a local scale - individual fisheries are certified, and make changes relevant to their local impact. At the same time, we know there are many global fishery problems - overfishing, environmental degradation, IUU fishing, control and management of high seas fishing, RFMO management and responsibilities, impact of fisheries on large marine ecosystem trophic interactions - that require urgently to be addressed. This paper will examine the role that certification systems can play, defining the limits of their ability to influence change (where we may need other influence points and actors) and will provide illustrations of where they can and have played a part in developing global solutions.

SY5.2  11:15  Assessment of 7 seafood ecolabels for their compliance with the FAO Guidelines for certification. Helen Packer *, Wageningen University;

Abstract: In the past decade, the seafood market has become inundated with seafood ecolabels and certification programs. Even though all programs tend to aim for the same overarching goal of stimulating better practices in the seafood industry, these tend to differ in what they tell us about the product itself and/or how it ws produced. This study aims to address the need to benchmark certification programs against a set of rules that defines what is a credible certification scheme and can demonstrate differences in scope and focus of the different labels using the FAO Guidelines for ecolabelling of fish and fishery products from marine capture fisheries and the FAO technical guidelines for aquaculture certification . Seven certification programs were analysed. This analysis was driven by 2 objectives: (1) to assess the compliance of 7 schemes with the FAO Guidelines and (2) to evaluate the FAO Guidelines for its applicability and relevance as a benchmark to assess the robustness of seafood certification standards. Results revealed differences in compliance between certification schemes both in terms of governance and content of the standard. On the other hand, the FAO guidelines were shown to be a strong benchmark for assessing governance aspects but still lack to address some crucial aspects of a scheme’s robustness. The guidelines were shown to be less relevant in identifying differences between standard content due to the lack of detail, its political language and encompassing scope.

SY5.3  11:30  Eco-certification and continuing improvement – Hope or Hype? Rice, JC *, Fisheires and Oceans Canada;

Abstract: One of the outcomes promoted by supporters of eco-certification of fisheries is that it can provide incentives and mechanisms for ongoing improvement of the sustainability of fisheries that have received certification, as well applying minimum standards for certification. Although the “conditions” issued when a fishery is certified provide for mechanisms for encouraging such improvements, there have been few systematic evaluations of whether such improvements really occur, and are lasting. In the past 15 years I have participated an expert in both initial certification assessments and subsequent annual audits of the fisheries against both conditions and changing circumstances of several fisheries. Using the initial assessment documents and subsequent annual submissions and interviews, I will review the evidence for actual improvements in performance of the fisheries against the MSC P1 and P2 standards. I will consider both requirement improvements to meet conditions and adaptive responses to changing environmental and stock circumstances during the 5-year periods of certification. The evidence indicates that ongoing improvement does occur in certified fisheries, but proceeds much faster when addressing specific conditions than when responding to unanticipated environmental changes.

SY5.4  11:45  Seafood Sustainability and Ecolabeling: Economic Implications. Roheim, Cathy *, University of Idaho;

Abstract: Ecolabeling programs have been in place for fisheries for a number of years. Yet the market benefits of such programs remain unclear, as only a few published studies have yet quantitatively examined this question. This presentation will discuss whether the nature of sustainability assurances have changed over time, whether the role in the marketplace of sustainability programs is changing, and to what extent the market benefits of ecolabeling programs have been identified. In turn, this will inform whether market benefits (i.e. economic incentives) are creating a rationale for better fisheries management. The presentation will examine how economists have gone about quantifying marketing benefits, what results show, and what additional analysis remains.

SY5.5  12:00  Using MSC eco-certification to promote sustainable fisheries in Mexico. Bourillón, L *, Comunidad y Biodiversidad, AC (COBI); Torre, J Comunidad y Biodiversidad, AC (COBI); Ribot, C Comunidad y Biodiversidad, AC (COBI); Cabrera, A Comunidad y Biodiversidad, AC (COBI); Sáenz, A Comunidad y Biodiversidad, AC (COBI);

Abstract: The MSC standard and process to certify fisheries as sustainable and well managed has been used in México for over a decade. It started in 2000 with the selection of the best small-scale fishery to attempt certification, and in 2004 the lobster fishery of Baja California achieved MSC certification, the first in the world of its kind. Currently four Mexican fisheries: two lobsters, one tuna, and one sardine, have received and maintained this recognition. This first group of certified fisheries have shown us the great potential of the MSC system to engage all stakeholders in collaborative projects to assess and then improve fisheries environmental performance against a clear standard, using updated scientific information and traditional knowledge, and in transparent and participatory processes. However it has also demonstrated the shortcomings of Mexico’s management regime to improve its fisheries, and the resistance by some stakeholders to change its status quo and be open to collaboration with NGOs and the scientific community, and to the scrutiny from society over the use of these common resources in a sustainable way. The difficulties to access the global market benefits from eco-labeling have been evident as well. In this paper we review and discuss our first hand experiences from the NGO perspective, and propose changes to move forward in engaging more Mexican fisheries to enter certification assessments in the future.

SY5.6  12:15  The South African experience with MSC certification . Butterworth, DS *, Dept of Maths & Applied Maths University of Cape Town;

Abstract: Only one South African fishery has received MSC certification. This is the bottom trawl fishery for hake (actually two species: the shallower water Merluccius capensis and the deeper water M. paradoxus), which is the country’s most valuable fishery with an annual landed value in excess of that for all other South African fisheries combined. The history of this certification will be reviewed briefly, with particular focus on positive and problematic aspects. On the positive side, certification has certainly led to increased attention to and respect for the scientific analyses and associated research and monitoring on which catch limit recommendations are based. Difficulties have centered on interpretation of MSC standards in circumstances where methodological changes lead to changed perceptions of (as distinct from real changes in) stock status, and on instances of failures to meet MSC requirements arising from weaknesses in Government administrative processes rather than any fault of the industry which is seeking the certification.

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