WWF calls out MSC for proposed certification of bluefin tuna

Posted on January, 23 2020

WWF has formally objected to the first Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of an Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery, warning that this would provide a dangerous incentive to the market and compromise the long-term recovery of the stock.
Despite the good news that the Atlantic bluefin tuna is on its way to recovery from the brink of collapse just a few years ago, it has not yet achieved sustainable levels which means no fisheries can be endorsed with a sustainability label. WWF believes due to the uncertainties of the stock assessment and the unknown magnitude of illegal catches that still occur in the region [1], Atlantic bluefin tuna should not pass the MSC threshold for certification.

Giuseppe Di Carlo, Director of WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative said: “It will be of interest to the public and retailers the world over, many of whom will be shocked to think that MSC would even consider assessing the proposed fishery, let alone allowing it to go through to the final stages. If a bluefin tuna fishery is certified by MSC then we have a dangerous incentive to the market and we risk compromising the long-term recovery of the stock.

“WWF had no other option than to object. As a stakeholder with interest in the conservation and effective management of bluefin tuna, we shared carefully reasoned submissions as part of the process but these were summarily dismissed. We are now taking a stand and shining the spotlight on the failings of the MSC system, as well as on the need for precautionary and careful management to ensure the continued recovery of this iconic species.”

WWF is now calling on MSC to stop the current certification process and instead pressure governments to improve controls and traceability and demand for a management of the stock based on sound scientific advice.