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Argentine Patagonian Toothfish Fishery Enters MSC Assessment

22 March 2013

ARGENTINA - The Argentine Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) fishery operating in Argentine Federal Continental Shelf waters has entered into full assessment in the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) certification program.

The assessment will evaluate the fishery against the MSC principles and criteria for sustainable fishing and, if successful, toothfish from the fishery will be eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel.

About the Argentine Patagonian Toothfish Fishery

The client group for the assessment is comprised of four companies: Estremar S.A., Pesantar S.A., Argenova S.A., and San Arawa S.A. Together these companies have seven vessels and are assigned the entire Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for this species in the Argentine Sea. The method of catch is bottom trawl, bottom longline, and trap. Fishing takes place year-round and the TAC was set at 3,500 tons in 2012.

Patagonian toothfish from Argentina is a high-value species and is primarily exported to the United States, Japan, and European Union. It is also known as merluza negra and bacalao de profundidad in South America, and Chilean sea bass in North America.

What the Fishery Says

Marcelo Gonzalez, representative for the client group, says: “We are confident the excellent management of the resource carried out by Argentine fishery management agencies, working together with scientists and industry, will be rewarded with MSC certification, as proof of the sustainability of this fishery, its strong management, its thorough investigation and the sound fishing practices of the four companies authorized.”

What the MSC says

Kerry Coughlin, MSC Americas regional director, says: “Argentina is the leading country in South America in terms of fishery participation in the MSC program, and Argentine fisheries are serving as a model for sustainable management. Patagonian toothfish is a species that is in particularly high demand in world markets and we are glad to see this fishery enter assessment to the MSC standard. If successful in achieving MSC certification, this will add an important source to the global supply of MSC certified toothfish, and will reinforce Argentina’s strong fisheries management.”

About the Assessment and Stakeholder Involvement

The assessment will be carried out by Organización Internacional Agropecuaria S.A. (OIA) a third-party, independent certifier. OIA will convene a team of scientific experts to assess the fishery against the three core principles of the MSC’s standard for sustainable and well managed fisheries: the sustainability of the fish stock, its impact on the environment and the management system in place. Anyone who would like to bring information about the fishery to the attention of the certifier can be involved in the assessment process.

TheFishSite News Desk

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