Sustainability notes — Marine Stewardship Council
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Sustainability notes

This is an overview of how the Australia mackerel icefish fishery scored in assessment 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

Overall:  80.37 Pass

Principle 2: Maintenance of Ecosystem

Overall:  87.8 Pass

Principle 3: Effective Management System

Overall:  91.31 Pass


Sustainability strengths

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

Principle 1: the state of the fish stock

  • The species is very easily identified by all resource users and managers and the distribution of the stock is also well understood an document. This makes management easy and relevant.
  • The estimates on removals associated with the Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) icefish fishery are excellent. Accurate catch data are recorded for the HIMI fishery, on a haul by haul basis, for the target species and all other species within the HIMI fishery.

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

  • The Australian Territory of HIMI lies in a remote and stormy part of the globe, near the conspicuous meeting-point of Antarctic and temperate ocean waters. The area includes a World Heritage Area, including the islands and the 12 nm marine zone around them, and a Marine Reserve. The nature of the fishing activities (including the nature and extent of gear, gear loss etc) and characteristics of the fishery are adequately known for ecosystem assessment purposes.
  • There is a detailed knowledge of the types of gear used in the fishery, including fine-scale details of places and times of gear deployment of each type, for use in management to reduce the risk of fishing impacts on threatened, protected, or ‘icon’ species.

Principle 3: the fishery management systems

  • The management system and the conduct of the fishery are fully compliant with the conservation measures set by CCAMLR. There are no controversial exemptions in place. The fishery is also managed and conducted in a manner that observes and respects legal and customary rights of people dependent on fishing. 


In order to ensure its continuing sustainable operation this fishery made a commitment to improving its performance where it scored between 60-80. Some of the actions the fishery has committed to are: 

  • The client should provide evidence that a comprehensive review has been or is being undertaken regarding appropriate Limit Reference Points for the Icefish fishery.  Evidence should be provided that the LRPs used meet the AFMA requirements (are appropriate for maintaining both ecologically viable stocks of the target species and an ecologically sustainable fishery), are appropriate for the biology of the icefish stock and takes into account available knowledge of fishery impacts on non-target species and the ecosystem.
  • The management system must be improved to contain criteria for assessing when a stock within the fishery is overfished, the strategies to be adopted when the stock is classified as overfished, and the conditions under which an overfished (stock or) fishery is considered to have recovered.



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