An ecolabel on a fishery that catches endangered sharks and turtles. Really? David Suzuki Foundation
By Dr. Scott Wallace, Sustainable Fisheries Analyst
Canada's Atlantic longline fishery for swordfish is about to receive an ecolabel from the Marine Stewardship Council. This fishery has been shown to kill about 35,000 blue sharks and catches over 1,000 endangered loggerhead turtles every year. Other species such as Bluefin tuna, porbeagle shark, shortfin mako, and leatherback turtles are also caught as bycatch. The public draft report has concluded that this fishery is worthy of the MSC ecolabel. This will be the first surface longline fleet in the world to receive MSC certification.
Globally, this gear type is associated with excessive mortality of sea turtles, sea birds and sharks. Given that this Canadian fishery has exceptionally high bycatch of these species and does not have even the minimal international best practices in place, this precedent-setting certification is deeply concerning. Express your concern by helping Hector the blue shark send a letter to the Marine Stewardship Council.
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