Namibia’s hake fishery certification process is back on track and South Africa’s re-assessment is underway.
The certification of the demersal trawl and longline hake fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council began in 2017. The process has been delayed for several reasons but the recent change of project manager for the fishery, now Dr Hugh Jones, a Fisheries Assessment Manager with Control Union Pesca, has provided renewed focus.
One of the reasons Dr Jones has cited for the delay is the need to harmonise requirements between the MSC hake assessments in South Africa and Namibia particularly around the stock of paradoxus. It is a shared resource between the two countries with Merluccius paradoxus spawning in South African waters and dispersing into Namibian waters.
The extent of the linkage has not yet been quantified but it is understood that genetic studies are being carried out which may provide a better understanding of the relationship between South African and Namibian M.paradoxus fleets.
The Benguela Current Commission has an established demersal working group comprising Namibian, South African and Angolan scientists and managers. They are reviewing and considering the hake shared stocks issue, including harvesting, and how best to address this moving forward from a management prospective.
The available evidence is that the Merluccius capensis stocks of Namibia and South Africa are separate.
Namibia has had a hake management plan in place since 2011 and is presently under review.
South African hake fishery
The South African hake species are deep water Cape hake Merluccius paradoxus and shallow water Cape hake Merluccius capensis.
South Africa’s hake fishery was first certified against the MSC standard in 2004 and re-certified in 2010 and 2015. It is now currently being re-assessed following the fisheries certification process.
Cutting it fine
A site visit is currently scheduled for the end of October and the assessment process of whether or not the fishery meets the MSC standard is due to be concluded by 28 May 2020, the day after which the current MSC certificate is due to expire.
The assessment is being led by Jim Andrews who has extensive experience in marine fisheries and environmental management. He has also personally worked on 25 different MSC certifications around the world. Dr Guiseppe Scarcella and Dr Johanna Pierre are the other expert members focussing on different areas of the assessment.
Third party re-assessment audit
The South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA) has contracted third-party independent auditors Lloyds Register (Acoura) to undertake a re-assessment of the South African hake trawl fishery.
The Announcement Comment Draft Report of 181 pages of intense reading, is now available for comment for a 30 day period. Contact Lloyds Register (Acoura) by 27 October if you are interested in commenting. This is the first of a series of reports that will be open to comments.’
Article Link: https://www.fishingindustrynewssa.com/2019/10/04/hake-fishery-certification-process-underway/