The Marine Stewardship Council has renewed its certification of the longline fishery for toothfish that takes place around Kerguelen and the Crozet Islands in the Southern Ocean. The French fishing companies operating in the area have welcomed the fishery’s re-certification.
Seven longliners operated by six companies take part in the seasonal fishery and are represented by SARPC, operating within CCAMLR guidelines and with quotas and management regime set by the French Southern and Antarctic Territories (TAAF) administration which sets annual quotas.
A number of measures also have to be complied with by fishing companies, including 100% observer coverage, a limit in the number of licences, and satellite monitoring of vessels to preclude IUU fishing activity. Gear may only be shot in the dark using weighted lines to avoid seabird strikes and streamers are mandatory. These measures are reported to have resulted in a 95% reduction in seabird mortality due to fishing since they were introduced in 2002.
‘We are delighted with the MSC re-certification of our toothfish fishery, which confirms its exemplary status. It also rewards the work and the efforts made over more than twenty years by our companies and our crews in consultation with the National Museum of Natural History and the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, with a constant determination to increase sustainability,’ said SARPC President Adrien de Chomereau.
The fishery was first certified in 2013 for Kerguelen and in 2017 for the Crozet area.
‘We congratulate the SARPC companies on this re-certification,’ said MSC fisheries manager Margaux Favret.
‘This justifies the efforts made by stakeholders in recent years that have drastically reduced bird catches and strengthened the management in place. This new success of the fishery and the associated progress perfectly illustrate the MSC’s theory of change and the commitment of French toothfish operators, their managers and scientists to preserving marine ecosystems in Antarctic waters.’
The SARPC member companies are Armas Peche (Mascareignes III), Cap Bourbon (Cap Kersaint), Comata – Scapeche (Île de la Réunion II), Les Armements Réunionnais (Île Bourbon), Pêche Avenir (Saint-André) and Sapmer (Albius and Cap Horn I)