September 17, 2013
Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk pollock fishery has been cleared to be certified to the Marine Stewardship Council standard as a sustainable and well-managed fishery.
Independent Adjudicator (IA) Michael Lodge on Monday released his final decision in the objection filed by the At-Sea Processors Association (APA) in the fishery, and accepted the responses of the Conformity Assessment Body (CAB).
Consistent with MSC requirements, the CAB will have to submit its amended report to Lodge to confirm that the changes made during the objection process are correctly reflected. Once that happens, the public certification report will be published and the CAB will certify the fishery.
“The objection process is completely independent of the Marine Stewardship Council and underscores the impartially and scientific rigor of the MSC program,” said Dr. David Agnew, MSC standards director. “WWF and APA objected to the certification. WWF withdrew its objection earlier in the year, following changes made to the fishery’s plans for data collection. As a result of the additional work required by the Independent Adjudicator under the APA objection, the scientific basis of the determination has been improved and the client action plan further strengthened. With this final decision, the CAB and independent adjudicator have determined that the fishery passes the MSC standard. MSC recognizes the importance of the contributions made by all parties and their commitment to sustainable fisheries.”
After reviewing the comments of the peer reviewer and objector the CAB decided to further amend condition 2 and client action plan to require a strengthening of the monitoring and observer program. The public certification report will require a written analysis within a year to demonstrate coverage, consistency and accuracy of the records of landings and, if needed, to develop a plan to address any shortcomings. Further, the written analysis is to be prepared by a working group that includes the Russia Federal Fish Agency, Russian fishery research institutes, and internationally recognized experts, among others.