EMERYVILLE, Calif., April 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) has announced its certification of the Australian Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) Patagonian toothfish fishery under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard for sustainable fisheries.
The certification covers two longline vessels and one trawl vessel operated by two companies, Austral Fisheries and Australian Longline. The HIMI fishery is the third toothfish fishery to receive MSC certification, following fisheries in the Ross Sea and around South Georgia Island.
The Patagonian toothfish fishery, threatened by illegal fishing in the past, is now managed sustainably with cooperative efforts from industry, conservation groups, national governments and the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Certification requires careful environmental impact assessments, minimization of by-catch, and rigorous stock assessment of the target species.
"The independent certification team from SCS was thorough, tough in their scoring and fair in their approach. We're pleased to be able to publicly demonstrate, via the MSC seal of approval, the benefits of industry working in conjunction with others to ensure a sustainable toothfish fishery," said Martin Exel of Austral Fisheries.
In addition to the HIMI project, Austral Fisheries and Australian Longline retained SCS to conduct MSC audits of their Australian mackerel icefish fishery under the MSC standard in 2006. SCS is currently assessing their Macquarie Island toothfish fishery.
"The MSC certification of the HIMI fishery demonstrates the power of a cooperative, stakeholder-driven approach in protecting fisheries," said Dr. Robert J. Hrubes, Senior Vice President of SCS. "And we recognize the importance of our ongoing role--conducting rigorous assessments of the Austral Fisheries and Australian Longline operations against the MSC standard."
"MSC certification will help demonstrate that toothfish stocks are being maintained at sustainable levels and reassure buyers that their product is sourced from a legal and sustainable fishery," said Dr. Sabine Daume, Sustainable Seafood Certification Manager at SCS.
Patagonian toothfish is commonly served in restaurants as Chilean Sea Bass. Buyers that want to support sustainable fisheries can now look for the MSC ecolabel when buying toothfish in stores or restaurants.
Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) has been a global leader in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing and standards development for more than 25 years. SCS programs span a wide cross-section of sectors, recognizing exemplary performance in natural resource management, green building, product manufacturing, food and agriculture, retailing and more. SCS is a Certified B Corporation™, reflecting its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices
The SCS Kingfisher Certification Mark for Sustainable Fisheries is a visual emblem of environmental protection and responsible resource management. Fast and agile with keen vision, Kingfisher birds are beloved around the world, with more than 90 species occupying a wide variety of habitats. Kingfishers are widely recognized as indicators of environmental health, and are vulnerable when their habitats are destroyed. MSC certification is one way companies can demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability.