Observing that eco-labelling certification awarded by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is crucial for bolstering export value of Indian fisheries, a panel of stakeholders in marine fisheries sector has decided to take joint efforts to obtain the certification
KOCHI, 14 APRIL 2018: Observing that eco-labelling certification awarded by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is crucial for bolstering export value of Indian fisheries, a panel of stakeholders in marine fisheries sector has decided to take joint efforts to obtain the certification.
During a panel discussion held at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) here on Thursday under the leadership of the MSC, marine scientists, seafood exporters, fishermen representatives and retailers observed that unanimous efforts are required to implement fishery improvement projects (FIPs) prior to fulfilling the ‘high bar’ standards for the MSC certification.
Organized jointly by the CMFRI, MSC and the World Wildlife –India (WWF), the meet finalized strategies for the fishery improvement plans for the country. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Yemi Oloruntuyi, Head, Developing World Programmes of the MSC said maintaining sustainability of fisheries is crucial to increase its acceptability among overseas markets. “Today, it is increasingly a risky a business to sell seafood products that are not sustainable”, she said. “Sustainability provides competitive advantage creating opportunity for well-managed fisheries. Certification and eco-labelling helps to demonstrate sustainability”, she added.
Sustainability of stocks, ecosystem impacts and effective management are the tree major factors required for fulfilling the MSC standards for the eco-labelling certification, she said. “Increasing trend of certification of fisheries will greatly help conserve the resources for future generation. In the world, 28 per cent of fisheries are over exploited”, Dr Oloruntuyi said. Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Director of CMFRI presided over the meet.
10 fisheries prioritized
Considering the commercial importance, 10 fisheris were prioritized by the panel as the targeted fishery for getting MSC certification. They include blue swimming crab, shrimp, red ring shrimp, squid, whelk, flower shrimp, cuttlefish, lobster, skipjack tuna and Japanese threadfin bream. Fishery improvement projects will be developed for these fisheries.
Explaining the status of Indian fisheries towards MSC certification, Dr Sunil Mohammed, Principal Scientist of CMFRI said the certification would bring in enhanced economic opportunities and market access for the fishing industry of the country, in addition to enhanced international reputation for the quality of Indian fishery management.
“The eco-labelling certification will boost India’s share of seafood export which is currently 4%. It will help the fishery fetch a well-accepted markets in European and North African countries”, he said.
“Among the 338 MSC certified fisheries from 36 countries, India has so far obtained only one fishery – short-necked clam fishery in Ashtamudi lake”, Dr Sunil Mohammed said.
‘Sustainable Seafood Network’ Launched
A ‘Sustainable Seafood Network’ of 12 members representing CMFRI, CIFT, MPEDA, seafood industry, retailers, trawlers, traditional fishermen and NGO was also launched to accelerate the measures for maintaining sustainable practices in seafood industry. Dr Sunil Mohammed is the chairman of the Network.
Experts from CMFRI, MSC, WWF-India, MPEDA and KUFOS and representatives from seafood industry, retailers and fishermen attended the programme. MSC India Consultant Dr Ranjit Suseelan, Dr Ema Fatima from WWF-India, MPEDA Joint Director Ram Mohan among others spoke on the occasion.