Sir, The MSC does not carry out assessments, they are carried out by independent auditing companies. That is a central pillar of the MSC programme and one of the things that has made it the world’s most robust, reliable certification programme for sustainable seafood. On the PNA fishery assessment, the auditor is Acoura Marine Ltd. Acoura carries out the assessment and it is their decision whether the fishery should be certified. MSC cannot over-rule that decision and cannot instruct the auditor on the outcome. It is not the MSC’s decision.
This is a requirement of the UN FAO code of conduct and the codes MSC meets as a member of ISEAL, the credible standard setting alliance.
The ludicrous claim about £10m affecting the MSC’s decision - when it is clearly not our decision to make - is demonstrably false. The MSC receives no money from fishery assessments and never has.
Three-quarters of MSC income comes from a royalty fee for using the MSC label on packaging but tuna represents a tiny fraction of that income. Even if MSC’s labelling income from tuna products was £10bn, it couldn’t affect the certification decision.
Buyers and retailers rely on MSC certification for a simple and robust mechanism to demonstrate sustainable sourcing. They can rest assured that nothing will compromise the independence of the MSC certification process on PNA tuna or any other fishery.
Toby Middleton, MSC programme director, North East Atlantic