The proposed updates to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Fisheries Standard have been published for public review.

The updates include a strengthening of requirements on endangered, threatened and protected species, a total ban on shark finning, proposals to reduce ghost gear, and streamlining requirements to make assessments less complex.

Dr Rohan Currey, chief science and standards officer at the MSC, said: “The past 30 years have seen significant strides made in sustainable fishing. Yet overfishing and the deterioration of our oceans continues.

“By distilling science, knowledge and best practice into a tangible set of requirements for fisheries, this standard provides one of the most powerful tools we have to ensure a sustainable future for our fisheries and oceans.”

While shark finning is already banned in MSC-certified fisheries, the proposed new requirements will require all fisheries that retain sharks to have a ‘fins naturally attached’ policy, without exception.

To reduce the risk of unintentional capture or entanglement of marine life in ghost gear, fisheries will need to implement management measures to prevent gear loss, and to minimise its impacts when gear is lost or discarded.

The complexity of the Fisheries Standard has also been reduced. While fisheries must still attain the same level of performance, the Fisheries Standard has been reviewed to simplify language, remove ambiguity and reduce the number of indicators that fisheries are assessed against.

The draft Fisheries Standard is open for review until 4 April. Stakeholders can take part in an online survey and comment on whether the proposed revisions are effective and can be feasibly applied and audited.

The MSC Board of Trustees will make the final decision to approve the new Fisheries Standard in June.

Further information is available here.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here


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