U.S. North Atlantic Swordfish fishery enters full assessment for MSC certification
Apr 26, 2012
Day Boat Seafood LLC of Lake Park, Florida has entered the U.S. North Atlantic
swordfish longline and buoy gear fishery into full, independent, third-party assessment against the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) principles and criteria for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. If successful, swordfish harvested from this area will be eligible to display the MSC ecolabel.
Vessels fishing in the Southeast U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. swordfish fishery covered in the MSC program over the currently certified fishery conducted by Day Boat Seafood in the Southeast U.S. North Atlantic swordfish fishery.
About the fishery
The fishery entering full assessment is located in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, on the U.S. east coast, FAO statistical area 31. The target species is the North Atlantic broadbill swordfish (Xiphias gladius) and is captured by pelagic longline (PLL) and handgear buoy line (HBL). The fishing season is year-round. In 2008, the PLL fishery landed 2,300 metric tonnes and the HBL fishery landed 122,700 lbs. dressed weight (55.7 mt). Currently, U.S. fleets do not take the full total allowable catch for U.S. 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 U.S.
What the fishery says
Debbie Lewis, Director of Compliance and Sustainability for Day Boat Seafood said: “Since last year’s MSC certification of our Southeast U.S. North Atlantic swordfish fishery, we have anticipated expanding our sustainable fishing practices for swordfish to the rest of the U.S. east coast. We are grateful to the stakeholders who continue to work with us to find sustainable solutions to commercial and environmental concerns.”
What the MSC says
Kerry Coughlin, Regional Director, Americas, said: “In their first certification, Dayboat Seafoods demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability and a willingness to work with the environmental community to address concerns. We’re pleased to see them now expand that commitment by entering the U.S. North Atlantic swordfish fishery into full assessment. If the fishery is successful in achieving this second certification it will demonstrate that Dayboat has backed up their commitment by meeting the MSC’s globally recognized scientific sustainability standard for the majority of swordfish caught off the east coast of North America.”
About the certifier
Independent certifier MRAG Americas will conduct the assessment of this fishery against the MSC standard. Dr. Graeme Parkes, who can be reached at Graeme.Parkes@mragamericas.com, is leading the assessment team.
Stakeholders with an interest in the fishery are encouraged to provide comments and information for this assessment process.The MSC guide for stakeholder input is available here. A template for stakeholder input is available here.