Opening the Fishery to Global Scrutiny: Where We Are in the MSC Processby Mariana Ramos, Executive DirectorFebruary 12th, 2016

Our sustainability vision is to ensure healthy oceans – and that means we believe that we must lead on environmental performance. We have made significant investments over the past 20 years to improve our sustainability practice. Our members have demonstrated that strong commitment in ways that have been costly – like voluntarily withdrawing from Bluefin Tuna fishing for 5 years.

We also made the commitment to open our fishery to public scrutiny – and to undergo the assessment and evaluation to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard – which requires a thorough open, transparent analysis of all of our members’ practices. This process means that our fishery is seeking the highest environmental standard currently available for wild-caught fish.  While our members have always strived for environmental excellence, our investment in MSC certification is made to demonstrate our willingness to invest in continuous improvement, and to be open to stakeholder feedback and collaboration.

Later this month, the results of the evaluation by SCS Global Services (the independent evaluator, known as a Conformity Assessment Body or CAB), against the MSC standard will become public, as will our Action Plan to address the conditions placed upon our fishery and seek the continuous improvement that the MSC standard demands.

Our Action Plan will not only address the technical requirements placed upon our fishery. In addition to these technical improvements, the Alliance will include three voluntary lines of action, as a sign of our commitment to continuous improvement, transparency, and engagement.

Stakeholder engagement:  The Alliance intends to set up strong Scientific and Stakeholder Groups to advise us on improvement of our fishery. These Groups will ensure we are tapping the best environmental scientists in our field and also continuing our strong leadership position as a fair employer and good community citizen.  We invite interested parties to contact us to participate.

Open communication:  The Alliance will proactively and publicly report on the progress on the conditions within the Action Plan. We will publish quarterly reports, including data, on our public website and will also invite commentary on these reports from NGOs and other stakeholders.

Leadership in RFMO:  The Alliance members have committed to take an active role in working with our government to encourage collaboration with environmental stakeholders and other member states and industries in meetings of the IATTC, the Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) that oversee the management and regulation of the ocean where we fish (Eastern Pacific Ocean).  We believe this is an important role for the industry to achieve our ambitious sustainability vision.

When the Action Plan is made public, we will also post the link to it here on this site, inviting comments by the public to the Plan. (Please note: we will post the link so that stakeholders understand where and how to make comments through the official MSC process for commentary which requires that comments be sent directly to MSC.)

We invite your commentary to our Action Plan – and we look forward to healthy discussions of the future of our fishery and to continuing our sustainability journey.