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Toothfish eco-label hangs in the balance

13 May 2010
Independent ajudicator Michael Lodge found that the scores given by Moody Marine were not justified by available scientific evidence.

Independent ajudicator Michael Lodge found that the scores given by Moody Marine were not justified by available scientific evidence.

Independent adjudicator orders reconsideration of MSC certification.

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) independent adjudicator, Michael Lodge, has remanded the proposed certification of the Ross Sea Antarctic toothfish fishery back to the certifier, Moody Marine, for major reconsideration.
Lodge identified “serious procedural errors” in the approach taken by Moody Marine. For several performance indicators, he found that the scores given by Moody Marine were not justified by available scientific evidence.
In addition, Moody Marine was found to have “failed to give adequate consideration” to comments submitted by stakeholders during formation of the assessment tree.
The decision follows a 12-month scientific assessment of the fishery by Moody Marine, and a five-month review of an objection to their finding that the fishery meets the MSC standard.
MSC received an objection to Moody Marine’s recommendation from the Antarctic and Southern ocean Coalition (ASOC) on 15 December 2009. The Center for Biological Diversity and a group of 39 marine scientists under the collective name of Friends of the Ross Sea Ecosystem (FORSE) also made submissions supporting the objection.
In accordance with the MSC objections procedure, the matter is now remanded to certifier Moody Marine to consider Lodge’s findings.
Parties to the objection may subsequently comment on the remand and Moody Marine’s response to Lodge’s determination.
The objections process will be finalised once Lodge has considered Moody Marine’s response, any associated submissions and the outstanding components of the objection.
The Ross Sea toothfish fishery operates in two Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCMALR) subareas, 88.1 and 88.2.
In the 2006/07 season, the fishery comprised 15 vessels from eight countries. The 88.1 TAC was 3,032 metric tons and the fishing season extended from 1 December 2006 until 2 February 2007.
In Subarea 88.2, there were seven vessels from five countries, over the season, from 1 Dec 2006 to 30 March 2007, 347 metric tons were caught from a total catch limit of 547metric tons (63%).

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Independent ajudicator Michael Lodge found that the scores given by Moody Marine were not justified by available scientific evidence.

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