Toothfish back on the menu
Patagonian toothfish—also known as Chilean sea bass—is back on the menu, provided it comes from South Georgia, whose longline fishery has met the tough standards required to become certified as a sustainable and well-managed fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The certificate has been awarded to the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
All vessels in the fishery employ mitigation measures to reduce seabird bycatch that were developed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), who manage fisheries in the southern Antarctic. Numbers of albatrosses accidentally killed have fallen from several thousand to just single figures each year.
“The South Georgia longline fishery for Patagonian toothfish is one of the best managed in the world,” said Dr Ben Sullivan, BirdLife’s Global Seabird Co-ordinator. “It is the premier example of best practice to which other longline fisheries around the world should aspire,” he asserts.
“Consumers can have a huge impact by opting to buy only fish from certified fisheries,” —Ben Sullivan, BirdLife's Global Seabird Co-ordinator
Whole Foods Market, a leading retailer of natural and organic foods with more than 180 outlets in the USA, Canada and the UK, will only stock Patagonian toothfish which has come from the certified fishery. In 1999 the company stopped stocking the product following concerns over the sustainability of fishery management practices.
“Overfishing and illegal fishing remain a serious global threat to Patagonian toothfish in other fisheries, so smart shoppers need to check for the eco-label before they buy,” said Jim Humphreys, MSC’s Regional Director of the Americas.
“Consumers can have a huge impact,” said Sullivan. “By opting to buy only fish from certified fisheries, they will be sending an important message to the fishing industry as a whole.”