Local researchers have taken a gaff to one of the world’s most established certifiers of sustainable seafood.

“The blue check mark that is on seafood is supposed to say to consumers that they are doing the right thing, that they are making an environmentally friendly choice,” said UBC’s Jennifer Jacquet. “Unfortunately, we don’t think that’s true.”

In the September issue of London-based Nature magazine, a group of six scientists, led by Jacquet, penned an opinion piece denouncing “increasingly troublesome” certifications by the Marine Stewardship Council.

Among their complaints is that over-fished fisheries can still receive MSC certification as long as good management practices are in place, and that process does not consider the end use. Antarctic krill fisheries, for example, when used for fishmeal, are neither responsible nor sustainable, Jacquet said.

Reaction
In a response, MSC said it welcomes feedback to improve its effectiveness. For more than a decade, it added, its efforts and those of its partners have been contributing to environmental progress around the world.