Swordfish longline fishery certified

13 Dec 2011
Swordfish (Xiphias gladius). Credit: NOAA

Swordfish (Xiphias gladius). Credit: NOAA

The Southeast US North Atlantic swordfish pelagic longline and buoy gear fishery has received Marine Stewardship Council certification after a rigorous, independent assessment by MRAG Americas.

The certification covers swordfish landed for Day Boat Seafood LLC, which is now eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel. The Unit of Certification combines pelagic longline and buoy gear types working with Day Boat Seafood LLC. All the swordfish landed - approximately 200t per year - is sold fresh in domestic markets.

The fishery operates year round with some seasonal variation in an area off the Florida east coast. It is managed by the US Federal Government under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and in conformance with ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) management requirements. In addition, other US federal laws and regulations under the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) apply to the fishery, including endangered species.

As part of the certification, nine conditions, or improvement actions are required that address issues raised during the process by the certification team, stakeholders, and peer review scientists. Progress in meeting the conditions is required and will be assessed during the annual surveillance audits. 

Debbie Lewis, Director of Compliance and Sustainability for Day Boat Seafood said: “We are proud our swordfish longline and buoy gear fishery has been awarded MSC certification, because it recognises the dedication of the Florida east coast fishermen who have fished in a sustainable manner for the last decade, contributing to the revitalisation of the North Atlantic swordfish population. We hope the benefits this certification brings will inspire other swordfish fisheries around the world to adopt similar measures. We wish to acknowledge the management practices of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Management Division, and the conservation organisations and stakeholders that worked with us to make this certification possible.” 

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