On Monday the 13th of May the Sustainability Research Unit (SRU) hosted a training workshop on sustainable fisheries and certification presented by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Some 30 BTech Nature Conservation students in the School of Natural Resource Management and other stakeholders from the government and conservation sectors attended the one-day workshop held at the Nelson Mandela University’s George Campus. The workshop was presented by Dr Jaco Barendse, Senior Accessibility Manager from the Science and Standards Team of the MSC, based at its London headquarters and Research Associate of the SRU.

The workshop provided a background to environmental certification of wild capture fisheries in general, and more detail was provided about the MSC, the world’s oldest and most widely recognised third-party fisheries certification and ecolabelling scheme.  The scheme accounts for around 16% of global wild catch volume with over 350 certified fisheries in 36 countries across the globe including 126 species.

Workshop attendees were trained on how the MSC defines a fishery, which types of fisheries are eligible to enter the program, and how the 3 MSC principles are used to assess the environmental performance of a fishery. Under Principle 1 the health of the target stock is considered; under Principle 2 the fishery’s impact on the marine ecosystem is assessed including other species and habitats.  Principle 3 considers the management systems relating to the fishery and how they maintain the required environmental outcomes.

Apart from the presentation attendees participated in group exercises to better understand how Performance Indicators are scored by independent assessors, using an example of a fishery in India.

The day ended with a video about the South African Hake trawl fishery, to date the only African fishery to first achieve MSC certification in 2004 and now in its third recertification period.

This was the first such workshop held in the Garden Route.

Attendees with Dr Jaco Barendse at the Level 1 introduction the MSC Standard training in George, South Africa.