Thursday, May 27, 2010

MSC says Antarctic krill is sustainable

This week, ASOC learned that our objection to the Marine Stewardship Council's certification of Antarctic krill was not upheld by the independent adjudicator. In a blog post on the decision, Casson Trenor points out the inadequacies of the certification process. MSC's guidelines don't consider the ethics or morality of a fishery. For krill, the benefit to society is small. Krill may be used to feed farmed fish, or turned into expensive nutritional supplements. Neither of these is necessarily a good use of resources. By narrowly focusing on fisheries while ignoring their broader context, MSC loses a lot of credibility. Moreover, there really isn't a lot of information that suggests that increased krill harvesting won't harm local populations of predators. When fishers target the very bottom of the food chain, where krill is, they're taking a huge gamble. If their predictions about acceptable catch levels are wrong, the entire ecosystem could be devastated. Is this really what consumers think of when they think of "sustainable"? It's time for MSC to re-evaluate its standards.