Tuesday, March 17, 2015

17/03/2015: Mexican Southern Gulf of California thread herring fishery enters MSC assessment process

The Southern Gulf of California thread herring (Opisthonema libertate, Opisthonema bulleri and Opisthonema medirastre) fishery located in Mexican territorial waters has voluntarily entered the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) full assessment process. The assessment is being conducted by third-party certifier SCS Global Services.  If this fishery successfully achieves certification, products from the fishery would then be eligible to carry the MSC’s blue ecolabel.

The MSC fishery standard is the world’s most recognized standard for the certification of environmentally sustainable and well-managed wild-capture fisheries. The transparent assessment will examine the fishery’s impact on fish stocks and the marine ecosystem. It will also evaluate the fishery’s management process to ensure that it is taking all necessary steps to protect the ocean environment for future generations.
The southern thread herring fishery is located in the Gulf of California in the Mexican territorial waters of the states of Sinaloa and Nayarit.  The fleet uses purse seine nets to fish for herring 10 months a year.  The majority of the thread herring catch is used for reduction to fish meal/fish oil and is sold in more than 20 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia, with China being the main market.  The total catch in 2013 was 68,602 metric tons.

Three government agencies have roles in management of this fishery which represents approximately 37 percent of the total thread herring landings in Mexico.  SAGARPA (the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food) is the government body responsible for fisheries management; CONAPESCA (the National Aquaculture and Fishing Commission) is responsible for management, coordination and policy development regarding fisheries; and INAPESCA (the National Fisheries Institute) is the research arm providing data used for fisheries management decisions.

The client for this assessment, Maz Sardina SA de CV, has seven licensed vessels operating in the fishery.  Maz Sardina has selected SCS Global Services to perform the independent assessment and has indicated it is open to sharing the certificate with other interested fishers operating within the area of assessment.
  Brian Perkins, MSC’s Regional Director for the Americas, said:  “We are pleased to see Mexico’s Southern Gulf of California thread herring fishery come forward for assessment against the world’s most recognized standard for sustainable fishing.  With this additional Mexican fishery entering the program, the Mexican fishing industry is becoming a model for other fisheries in the region in demonstrating a commitment to effective collaboration with the aim of improving fishing practices and promoting sustainability.”
Armando Coppel Azcona, General Director of Maz Sardina SA de CV, said: “In recent years, we have taken our products to many countries and different industries, and have found consumers are increasingly concerned about the origin and sustainability of the products they are buying. In order to ensure our product is traceable and sustainable, Maz Sardina decided to enter the thread herring fishery into the MSC assessment process. In the Gulf of California there is already one certified fishery and another in the assessment process, and it is a source of pride for the entire Mexican fishing industry that we are making the effort to achieve this certification."

Visit the MSC website HERE.

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