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Commercial Fishing



On The Hook relaunches with renewed call for CFP review. The On The Hook campaign has relaunched to focus entirely on renewing its previous calls for a full independent review of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards and operation.

Campaign members, including Blue Marine Foundation, Environmental Justice Foundation and Professor Callum Roberts, have signed a joint letter to MSC CEO Rupert Howes and Board Chair Dr Werner Kiene to explain the rationale behind this redirection.

The letter notes that signatories believe the MSC has a fundamentally important role to play. However, the continued certification of destructive fisheries suggests to the group that the bar for certification is not currently set high enough for MSC to serve its intended purpose of identifying sustainable fisheries and incentivising improvement across the sector.

The group also notes further concerns arising from its experiences campaigning over the course of several years for improvements from MSC on serious issues of compartmentalisation, FAD management and shark finning: “our experience has been that the opportunity for genuine stakeholder engagement and input has been too limited. And in the meantime, many more fisheries of questionable sustainability have continued to be certified.”

The letter states that MSC procedures are “quite simply… too slow to keep up with the pace of change on the ocean” and that MSC’s own Standard Review is not the forum through which to resolve these overarching issues as it focusses on a “limited number of predetermined issues”, has “short windows for public consultation” and “little visibility or transparency on the decision-making process.”

As such, the On The Hook campaign’s letter to the MSC CEO and Board chair concludes by renewing earlier calls made by the campaign and urging MSC “to undertake a full independent review of its Standard and operations, commissioned from outside the organisation, which would enable all stakeholders to raise all concerns in an open and transparent manner and for these to be systematically examined and addressed”.

Charles Clover, Executive Director of Blue Marine Foundation said:

“It is not enough for MSC to continue addressing issues so slowly and incrementally. Many campaigners have dedicated

significant time and capacity to engaging with MSC on consultations and concerning certifications, but the frequency with which these arise suggests there are fundamental underlying issues which need to be addressed first.”

Steve Trent, Executive Director of the Environmental Justice Foundation said:

“The MSC has a crucial role to play in protecting our ocean, but it is not currently fulfilling it. The inadequate response to the issues raised risks shaking public confidence and undermining the integrity and value of the scheme. Along with On The Hook, I strongly urge the MSC to accept that a full, external, independent and forensic review of its Standard and operations is now long overdue. This is needed to address clear issues of growing international concern and deliver the reset required to ensure MSC is equipped to do the job it was designed for, restoring commercial and consumer confidence in the scheme.”