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US North Atlantic swordfish fishery enters full assessment for MSC certification

01 May 2012

Day Boat Seafood LLC of Lake Park, Florida has entered the US North Atlantic swordfish longline and buoy gear fishery into full Marine Stewardship Council assessment.

Vessels fishing in the Southeast US North Atlantic portion of the fishery, which fish predominantly in the federal waters of the east coast of Florida, are currently certified. The new assessment will determine the sustainability of the US fishery in the North Atlantic and excludes the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. This is the second MSC certification sought by Day Boat Seafood and, if certified, would offer a significant growth in the size of the US swordfish fishery covered in the MSC program over the currently certified fishery conducted by Day Boat Seafood in the Southeast US North Atlantic swordfish fishery.

The fishery entering assessment is located in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, on the US east coast, FAO statistical area 31. The target species is the North Atlantic broadbill swordfish and is captured by pelagic longline (PLL) and handgear buoy line (HBL). The fishing season is year-round. In 2008, the PLL fishery landed 2,300mt and the HBL fishery landed 122,700lbs dressed weight (55.7mt). Currently, US fleets do not take the full total allowable catch for US vessels determined by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

North Atlantic swordfish are managed as Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) under the dual authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act. The product is sold as fresh swordfish in the US

Debbie Lewis, director of compliance and sustainability for Day Boat Seafood said: “Since last year’s MSC certification of our Southeast US North Atlantic swordfish fishery, we have anticipated expanding our sustainable fishing practices for swordfish to the rest of the US east coast. We are grateful to the stakeholders who continue to work with us to find sustainable solutions to commercial and environmental concerns.”