WWF-position & Q&As on MSC certification of South African Hake Trawl Fishery 31 March 2004 Background on the Fishery The offshore and inshore trawl sectors (hake-directed fisheries with associated by-catch) contribute over 50% of the total value of all fisheries in South Africa. Two Cape hake species (Merluccius paradoxus and M. capensis), the former being predominantly trawled (the deep-water species) and the second (the shallower-water species) largely being caught by the inshore trawl, longline and handline sectors. The hake-directed trawl fishery developed at the start of the century and grew rapidly after World War II to peak in the early 1970’s at more than 300,000 tons, less than half of which was accounted for by domestic fleet. This led to a rapid decline in the stock The exclusion of foreign vessels and a conservative management strategy with effect from 1983 led to a gradual recovery in catch rates. A TAC of 151,000 t was granted 1995-1999 with 155,500 tons in 2000. (the TAC for the current year is 164000 tons) This has however been increased to 166,000 tons for 2001-2002. South Africa has recently introduced a comprehensive Scientific Observer Programme. Observers are deployed throughout the deep sea and inshore trawl fleets and hake trawler coverage approximates 15-20% of all trips. Information collected relates to fishing practice, gear types, biological measurements of target and non-target species as well as estimates of discard proportions. The programme constitutes a significant improvement in information gathering in the trawl fleet, the results of which are being fed into management and scientific advice. Managed as two geographical “stocks”: West Coast and South Coast. West Coast Stock is estimated to be at 22% of pre-exploited biomass, while the South Coast stock is estimated to be at 47% of the pre-exploited biomass. Markets Considerable local market, most frequently eaten local fish. Sold both fresh and as processed frozen products Also a considerable export market mainly to Europe Note: in addition to these WWF FAQs, there is a more general list of frequently 1 asked questions and answers available on the MSC-website, www.msc.org. WWF-position & Q&As on MSC certification of South African Hake Trawl Fishery 31 March 2004 Frequently Asked Questions on the MSC-certification of SA Hake Trawl Fishery A CERTIFICATION 1. Who was the client of the certification? The Hake Trawl Association 2. Which stock is subject of the certification? The two species of Cape Hake (Merluccius paradoxus and M. capensis). 3. What is the method of capture? Demersal (bottom) Trawling 4. Who did the MSC certification of the South African Hake fishery? Moody Marine Ltd, based in Liverpool, the United Kingdom 5. What is the function of the MSC in this certification? The MSC did not assess the fishery; this was done by Moody Marine - an independent auditing company. The MSC has set rigorous assessment procedures that the certification company, in this case Moody Marine, must follow. The MSC is a third party accreditation and standard setting organisation. The MSC has worked with Moody Marine to encourage a transparent process. The public report was made available to key stakeholders in good faith, before the public announcement, to enable maximum opportunity to criticise, review and optimise the certification. The MSC is receptive to suggestions about how to improve the transparency aspects of the process. 6. How long does the MSC-certification last? The certification is valid for 5 years with annual monitoring visits to the fishery and/or until such time as there is a major change in the fishery. 7. What where the major issues raised in the certification? Several issues were raised during the assessment process. Most these related to impacts that the fishery had on the ecosystem in which it operated rather than the state of the target stock. These issues were all raised as conditions of certification and include: Bycatches of other fish species, notably those that are currently classified as over–exploited, including Kob, Kingklip Incidental mortality of threatened seabirds (mainly albatrosses) during fishing operations The effects of trawling on the benthic habitat and the potential benefits of Marine Protected Areas that allowed the benthic habitat to recover and normal ecosystem processes to recover It was also recognised that more research was required on the ecosystem relations in order to implement an ecosystem-based management approach in this fishery Note: in addition to these WWF FAQs, there is a more general list of frequently 2 asked questions and answers available on the MSC-website, www.msc.org. WWF-position & Q&As on MSC certification of South African Hake Trawl Fishery 31 March 2004 8. What does the fishery have to do to keep MSC ”approval”? The certifier reports that no “pre-conditions” are required to be undertaken by the fishery and hence the fishery qualifies for the MSC-principles and criteria. The report does list seven “conditions of certification” (see the certifier’s report on the MSC-website for details). These do not preclude certification, but require the client (the Hake Trawl Association) to meet these conditions by pre-determined deadlines during of the period of certification. The deadlines range from 6 months to 2 years. 9. How is this to be monitored? The annual surveillance audits monitor the fishery, including implementation of the corrective actions. A public summary report is made available following the surveillance audit. Additionally stakeholders may send comment and feedback to the MSC and to the auditors at their discretion if they have any concerns, suggestions or other comments about the implementation of the requirements or consequences of certification. 10. Is the report publicly available? How can a copy be obtained? The final report can be found on the MSC’s website on the certified fisheries pages (www.msc.org). 11. What is WWF’s position on the certification of the South African Hake Trawl fishery? WWF fully supports the certification of the South African Hake Trawl fishery, because a third party assessment of the fishery has shown that the fishery meets the MSC-standards and is deemed to be a responsible and well-managed fishery. WWF participated in the initial assessment process and made extensive comment on the draft final report. WWF is satisfied that the assessors took cognisance of our concerns and where appropriate raised new conditions and strengthened others in order to accommodate our concerns. WWF therefore welcomes this certification and congratulates the Hake Trawl Association its certification status. WWF is happy to see that the Association commits itself in further improvements by signing on to the conditions for this certification. WWF also looks forward to working with the auditors and the Hake Trawl Association in helping it meet the conditions of certification. Note: in addition to these WWF FAQs, there is a more general list of frequently 3 asked questions and answers available on the MSC-website, www.msc.org. WWF-position & Q&As on MSC certification of South African Hake Trawl Fishery 31 March 2004 GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE STOCK AND THE FISHERY 1. Some basic stock assessment statistics Estimated spawning biomass of the two Cape Hake species 2. Are there any fisheries that catch the two Cape Hake species as a by-catch product? Yes, Hake are caught as bycatch in the small mid-water trawl fishery for horse-mackerel. bycatch. This is accommodated by means of a limit not exceeding 2% of the horse mackerel catch (by weight). Depending on the TAC this amounts to about 630 tons (in 2003) 3. Are there any by-catches of rare, protected or icon species? Seabirds: Globally threatened Albatrosses and petrels have been recorded as being killed when colliding with trawl warps. However, the level of incidence of has not been quantified. This prompted WWF-SA to insist that an assessment of this impact be set out as a condition of certification. This suggestion was positively received by the Assessment body and the client. 4. Are there any other bycatches Note: in addition to these WWF FAQs, there is a more general list of frequently 4 asked questions and answers available on the MSC-website, www.msc.org. WWF-position & Q&As on MSC certification of South African Hake Trawl Fishery 31 March 2004 Cape Fur Seals Arctocephalus pusilus are caught killed in this fishery. However previous studies have quantified the incidence as being non-significant at the population level. The Cape Fur Seal population has increased steadily since the early 1900s. Current population is about 1.5 Million and the population is thought to continue to increase at around 3.7% per annum 5. Who is the responsible management authority? The management authority is South African Directorate of Marine and Coastal Management, within the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. 6. Is the South African fleet the only fleet fishing on this stock? No. These species are also the target of substantial fishing effort in neighbouring Namibian waters. Although these stocks certainly qualify as straddling stocks, the extent of migration between the Namibian and the South African is unknown. Despite this there is considerable effort being put into standardising managing procedures for marine resources in the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME). This is done through the BCLME and BENFIT programmes. 7. What is the scientific authority determining the stock status? Stock assessments are conducted by a specific hake working group that operates under the auspices of the Directorate of Marine and Coastal Management, using both fishery derived and fisheries-independent research surveys. The hake working group is comprised of government, fishing industry and other specialised fisheries scientists. Advice on TACs are developed through an Operational Management Procedure (OMP). OMPs are designed to develop robust management based upon extensive projections of management alternatives under the range of uncertainties that exist in the assessment. Various management objectives, risks and constraints are agreed upon, tested in the simulations and form the basis of management actions. Note: in addition to these WWF FAQs, there is a more general list of frequently 5 asked questions and answers available on the MSC-website, www.msc.org.
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