FISHING: Where Have All The Fish Gone?
Recent Western Cape Business News
Currently, a quarter of the world’s fish stocks are overexploited, depleted or recovering from depletion. Approximately half of the international fish stocks are fully exploited, which means that these stocks are being utilised at, or close to, their sustainable maximum. Only a quarter of fish stocks are underexploited or moderately exploited.
So the question needs to be asked: Where have all the fish gone? The answer is simple: In most cases, they have landed, directly or indirectly, on our plates.
At the end of the line, our educated purchasing decisions are crucial in ensuring that the ocean’s resources remain ours to enjoy.
Fortunately we have the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an international organisation that, through working with fisheries, seafood companies, scientists, conservation groups and the public, strives to promote the best environmental choice in seafood and to transform the world’s fish markets and fisheries into sustainable industries.
The MSC has developed credible and comprehensive standards for sustainable fishing as well as seafood traceability and awards its blue eco-label to fisheries that comply with these stringent standards. Through this accreditation, the Council aims to increase the availability of certified sustainable seafood and to recognize and rewards sustainable fishing practices. The blue eco-label provides consumers with the knowledge that the fish and seafood they purchase have been sourced in a sustainable manner, with credible traceability.
The MSC environmental standard for sustainable fishing sets the criteria that a fishery has to adhere to in order for it to be certified and to carry the blue MSC eco-label. This comprehensive standard is based on the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations‘ Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries as well as other international conservation instruments and parameters. The standard has three base principles. The first principle deals with sustainable fish stocks and companies that are, or wish to be certified, must engage in fishing activities at a level that is sustainable for the particular fish population. Any certified fishery must operate in such a manner as to ensure that fishing can continue indefinitely and that the resource is not overexploited.
The second principle deals with the management of the fishing operation. The fishery needs to operate in such as way as to maintain the structure, productivity, function and diversity of the ecosystem on which it depends. The final principle focuses on effective management. The fishery must meet all local, national and international laws. It also needs to have a management system in place that is able to respond to changing circumstances and can maintain sustainability. These three principles are supported by 31 more detailed criteria.
Where is I&J in their MSC certification process? As a key player in the South African fishing industry and trusted household brand for more than 100 years, I&J says it is committed to limiting its environmental impact through constant revaluation of its fishing methodology, and compliance with both SASSI and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards.
I&J’s recently appointed commercial director, William Steenkamp confirms, “I&J is committed to meeting the needs of its stakeholders, consumers and customers in an sustainable manner through continuous improvements in environmental s and performance in all of our business activities.”
From I&J’s current retail offering, the following products are already MSC certified:
• Deep Water Hake Fillets 800g.
• Deep Water Hake Fillets 400g.
• Deep Water Hake Prime Fillets 500g.
• Deep Water Hake Prime Steaks 500g.
• Deep Water Hake Prime Medallions 450g.
• Deep Water Hake Fillets 600g.
• Haddock Prime Steaks 500g.
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