Sustainability notes — Marine Stewardship Council
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Sustainability notes

This is an overview of how the South Africa hake fishery scored in its 2007-2010 reassessment against the MSC standard. For the certifiers evaluation please download the full public certification report with detailed information on the performance of this fishery against the criteria of the MSC environmental standard for sustainable fishing.

The fishery scored as follows in assessment against the MSC standard for sustainable fishing. The highest possible score for each principle is 100 and a fishery must score at least 80 against each principle to get certified: 

MSC Principle

Fishery Performance

Principle 1: Sustainability of Exploited Stock

M. Capensis:  86, Pass
M. Paradoxus: 82, Pass

Principle 2: Maintenance of Ecosystem

Overall:  81, Pass

Principle 3: Effective Management System

Overall:  89, Pass

Sustainability strengths

Some points on which the fishery scored over 90 are outlined below. 

Principle 1: the state of the fish stock

•    The basic population parameters of these 2 species are all known and reported, including age and growth, mortality, fecundity, early development and larval distributions.
•    Fishing related mortality (landings, discards, and incidental mortality), fishing effort, fishing methods and gear types are well understood. This knowledge enables effective management strategies to be implemented.
•    Clear, tested decision rules are set out in the form of the OMP.
•    Current stock status is evaluated relative to reference points and forecasts made for the future allowing for a wide range of uncertainties.

Principle 2: the impact of the fishery on the marine environment

•    The nature and distribution of all habitats relevant to the fishing activity are known in detail. This means that the effect of fishing on the surrounding ecosystem can be well monitored and appropriately managed.
•    The trawl fishery is not known to interact with reef species and protected species of birds. There is also a good knowledge of all other populations of protected species directly or indirectly related to the fishery. Critical habitats like breeding grounds for birds and seals, and bird/whale feeding areas are also well known and protected.

Principle 3: the fishery management systems

•    The management system is subject to regular and frequent internal review by consultants and stakeholders so it stays relevant.
•    There are no subsidies in the system which encourage unsustainable fishing, and there are incentives which promote sustainable fishing.
•    The stock is regularly evaluated and, if necessary, harvest is reduced to allow stock recovery.
•    Key research areas requiring further information have been identified.


In order to ensure its continuing sustainable operation this fishery made a commitment to improving its performance where it scored between 60-80.  Seven conditions have been raised in the reassessment as listed below. Further details of the conditions are given in Section 11.1 of the report.

•    Condition 1 Rebuilding of M. Paradoxus stock
•    Condition 2 Uncertainty of impacts on benthic habitat
•    Condition 3 Bycatches (retained and non retained species)
•    Condition 4 External review (of management system)
•    Condition 5 Separate species/ transboundary stock management issues
•    Condition 6 Research
•    Condition7 Limit and target reference points for M paradoxus

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