Update on the MSC Processby Mariana Ramos, Executive Directorjunio 20th, 2016

Happy Solstice to all!

It is always invigorating to be writing on the longest day in summer! We write today with an update to those stakeholders about the status of MSC certification process.

As you may know, our MSC process is in Step 6 of seven total steps: Final Report and Determination of the Certifier/Auditor (which is called the Conformity Assessment Body or CAB).

The CAB of our fishery is SCS Global Services. SCS Global Services has received and is in the process of reviewing all stakeholder comments that they received. In total, the CAB received comments from participating stakeholders, all of which must be reviewed in detail.

At this phase, the CAB needs time to read, understand and respond to all comments; and, we, the fishery have the opportunity to address the Action Plan updating it to address stakeholder comment. At present we are working with interested stakeholders to include their perspectives and ensure that our Action Plan meets their expectations and the conditions placed upon the fishery to receive MSC certification. This is a process that involves discussions with stakeholders to ensure that we’re forging the best path forward for the long-term sustainability of the entire fishery.

One of the more complicated topics we’re discussing is how to organize and collaborate to catalyze a dolphin population survey for the EPO. As part of the final Action Plan, the Alliance is committing to both financially and logistically supporting an open, transparent, scientifically-driven population survey (as part of the MSC certification process).  To ensure the credibility of results, the Alliance has agreed to allow the scientists and stakeholders to determine the final methodology, the timing, and other technical matters.

Once the CAB is finished with its review and adjustments, we submit our final Action Plan. The CAB then reviews the Action Plan to ensure that it meets the rigorous conditions the CAB has placed upon the fishery to meet the MSC standard. At that point, the CAB makes a final decision on the report via the Final Report Publication; and stakeholders are allowed to object during a 15 day period.

We expect the auditor’s report will be published in or before September; and we welcome stakeholders to contact us directly with any questions.