New Flawed MSC Certification of Bluefin Tuna Risks Reaching the Mediterranean Market, Warns WWF

Rome, Italy – Today, WWF sent a public letter to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) raising concerns over the certification of the French SATHOAN bluefin tuna fishery operating in the Mediterranean Sea. This is the second bluefin tuna fishery to be awarded with what WWF believes is a premature certification. The first and highly contested certification of a Japanese fishery not only exposed important gaps in the management of the bluefin tuna stock, it showed worrying flaws in the MSC certification and objection processes. 

WWF continues to oppose all certifications of bluefin tuna fisheries until the recovery of the bluefin population is uncontested and demonstrated by reliable stock assessments. However, this time WWF has chosen not to engage in a formal objection process as the MSC objections procedure has proven ineffective at preventing premature or inappropriate certification of fisheries and does not allow for a scientific and objective decision on the sustainability of the fishery. 

Giuseppe Di Carlo, Director of WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative,  said: 

“Bluefin tuna recovery requires time, good science and conservation measures, but the MSC seems to be pressured to certify fisheries with serious sustainability shortcomings. WWF has highlighted the shortfall of the MSC standard in assessing the status of the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna stock. Yet, the certification was granted to the first Japanese bluefin tuna fishery under the assumption it may meet the criteria for the sustainability of bluefin tuna only by 2025. This time, we will not formally object to the certification of a French fishery, as we don’t have confidence in the MSC conducting a transparent, independent and unbiased fishery assessment process based on a rigorous evaluation of the bluefin tuna stock.” 

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