Evaluation and Legal Assessment of Certified Seafood

Froese, Rainer and Proelß, Alexander (2012) Evaluation and Legal Assessment of Certified Seafood Marine Policy, 36 . pp. 1284-1289. DOI 10.1016/j.marpol.2012.03.017.

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Abstract

This study presents a legal review of international treaties to derive sound definitions of overfishing. It examines seafood stocks that were certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Friend of the Sea (FOS). Stock size and fishing pressure were compared with the internationally agreed reference points which both organizations have accepted. No suitable status information was found for 11% (MSC) to 53% (FOS) of the certified stocks. For the stocks with available status information, 19% (FOS) to 31% (MSC) had overfished stock sizes and were subject to ongoing overfishing. An analysis of legal implications of certification of overfished stocks suggests that a certifying body cannot be held liable for a violation of internationally agreed standards unless the domestic law of its home country so regulates. States may ban the import of fish products from overfished stocks, but only in very specific cases. Possible causes for the certification of overfished stocks are discussed and recommendations are given on how the certifiers could improve their performance. The study concludes that it is still reasonable to buy certified seafood, because the percentage of moderately exploited, healthy stocks is 3-4 times higher in certified than in non-certified seafood.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes; Ichthyology; Seafood certification; Eco-labels; Sustainable fishing; Maximum sustainable yield; Law of the sea; Code of conduct for sustainable fishing
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.marpol.2012.03.017
ISSN: 0308-597X
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2012 09:51
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2012 14:55
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/14215

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