Marine Stewardship Council — about as credible as Bernie Madoff?

Well, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) continues on its mission to become one of the biggest farces in the ocean — next to BP’s health and safety manuals and their environmental accountability (which I’m sure is inserted in their Corporate Social Responsibility Code somewhere).

The MSC decided yesterday that British Columbia sockeye fisheries are “sustainable” and should receive their little blue “ecocertification” — most likely so they can be sold in WalMart stores around North America (see post: there is probably no connection…Wal-Mart, MSC, 2011…).

Oh wait… there hasn’t been a sockeye fishery on the Fraser River in three years. Yup… sustainable…

As a Globe and Mail article from yesterday – Fraser River sockeye certified sustainable – states:

Since the group [MSC] was founded in 1997, it has granted its eco label to 89 fisheries around the world. An additional 120 fisheries are in assessment.

If you haven’t seen some of my earlier posts on this greenwashing organization simply click “Marine Stewardship Council” in the tag cloud, or search it on this site. Or specifically maybe read Lesson 1, Lesson 2, and Lesson 3 for the Marine Stewardship Council in how NOT to earn credibility.

Not to mention the most popular post on this site: $2 for one wild salmon… do you see a problem?

In an earlier post, it appeared that MSC had eco-certified 65 world fisheries — according to the Globe article they are now up to 85. That’s impressive when the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) continues to blow the alarm on worldwide fisheries:

The FAO has reviewed 584 fish stocks and species from oceans around the world. Sufficient information has been available for the FAO to assess the health of 76% of these stocks and species. The FAO found of the fish stocks and species it has assessed, more than three quarters are fully exploited, overexploited, depleted or recovering — and, therefore, can no longer sustain expansion of the fishery. Furthermore, expansion of fishing activity is extremely risky in those stocks with an unspecified or unknown status.

Do you think that the MSC “eco-certified” fisheries are part of the 25% of the stocks with enough information to adequately assess that are not fully exploited, overexploited, depleted or recovering?

Well… no.

_ _ _ _ _

Regarding B.C. sockeye, the MSC suggests in their press release:

For this fishery, there is uncertainty in the scientific community as to the reasons for low sockeye returns; however, there is general agreement that commercial fishing pressure is not the cause for these declines since breeding stock levels were high in the years that spawned the fish now returning in low numbers (four years previous).

I don’t even know where to begin on this bogus claim, plus let’s not forget this little $15-$20 million exercise called: the Cohen Commission into Declines of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River.

Would the United Nations FAO get away with statements like this?

Yeah… you know those 75% of world fisheries that are fully, overly, and completely maxed out… fishing isn’t the problem. It’s other mysterious things.

Come on folks, pull your heads out of your ass! Pardon the crude expression, but this is an joke.

Have folks not seen this graph?:

Salmon think tank

What f’in population of anything can sustain having at least 80% of its population killed year after year.

Not only that… scientists do know that salmon are a “keystone” species. I think most folks recognize what that is… it’s that key rock in an arch:

from Wikipedia

Pull that rock out and the whole frigging thing comes crashing down in a pile of rubble.

So what do we know now, or have known for several decades… salmon feed ecosystems. Not just other animals, salmon carcasses release key nutrients to trees, bush, shrubs, and so on. Research in coastal BC has correlated years of accelerated tree growth with years of large salmon runs.

Gee… what a concept. Part of the freakin reason that so many of the world’s fisheries are depleted is to make f’in fertilizer for crops.

In coastal forests, the fertilizer returns naturally every year. However, research conducted in Washington State (Bilby and others) and other areas has proven a direct link between carcasses of parents feeding the next generation of baby salmon — either through direct feeding on remnants of carcasses in the spring following spawning, or on insects that fed or were spawned from salmon carcasses (ever see all those maggots in spawned out carcasses?).

And so what happens when industrial salmon fisheries over the last 100 years arrives and rapes 80% of the keystone species (remember 80% is a rough estimate…). Well, then the productivity of a system is eventually going to crumble as the “keystone” decays…

Oh wait… like this, maybe:

salmon think tank

If this graph above represented a financial stock that I owned and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (an active participant in the MSC certification process) was my financial advisor… I would have been asking some hard questions in about 1995.

With inaction, I would have started asking harder question after 2000, when you compare the blue graph to the red graph. Productivity was still on a nose dive, yet DFO allowed upwards of 50%-60% of Fraser sockeye to be harvested.

Actually, it wouldn’t have been hard questions by about 2003 — I simply would have fired them.

And since DFO and the MSC worked “closely together” on this assessment of BC sockeye fisheries — they should probably go about the same route as Bernie Madoff. If you don’t know who Bernie Madoff is he set up a grand Ponzi scheme that de-frauded people of over $65 billion between the 1980s and 2000s.

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