MSC re-certification stalled by last minute objection

Hake products derived from the South African trawl fishery for hake have been certified by the MSC since 2004

A last-minute objection has stalled the anticipated re-certification of the South African hake trawl fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

The re-certification was expected to be announced in November 2020, but an objection by the Wildlands Conservation Trust has set in motion a formal objection process, starting with the appointment of an independent adjudicator.

SADSTIA chairman, Felix Ratheb notes that the Wildlands Conservation Trust lodged “a last minute technical objection to the Final Draft Report and Determination published by Lloyd’s Register, the independent conformity assessment body (CAB), in which they surprisingly claim to have been unaware of the certification process and now belatedly seek to raise questions regarding largely immaterial aspects of the draft report and determination.”

He says that SADSTIA is confident in the process followed by the CAB, the substantive findings set out in the Final Draft Report and Determination and in the MSC fisheries certification processes.

“SADSTIA is participating fully in the MSC’s processes, and is confident that the objection will be properly and speedily dealt with without any impact on the fishery’s continued MSC certification, which has been held for some 16 years,” said Ratheb.

The MSC is an independent non-profit organisation that sets a standard for sustainable fishing and uses an ecolabel to recognise and reward fisheries that meet the standard. The MSC standard is rigorous and takes into account the entire fishery and the ecosystem on which it depends.

The South African trawl fishery for hake was the first hake fishery in the world to be certified by the MSC and until the certification of the Namibian hake fishery was announced in November 2020, the fishery was the only fishery in Africa to have achieved the MSC’s prestigious stamp of approval.