“The bar has been lowered gradually, and now they certify everything that moves,” said Daniel Pauly, a marine biologist at the University of British Columbia Fisheries Center who once supported MSC certification.
Kerry Coughlin, the MSC’s regional director for the Americas, said in a statement that the Canadian swordfish fishery “has committed to efforts to further protect turtles, ensure the sustainability of the swordfish stock, and monitor and research shark bycatch. Working together, all parties involved have advanced efforts to ensure a sustainable harvest that does not harm other marine populations.”
Meanwhile, some fisheries, including Iceland’s and several in Alaska, are opting for the Irish-based Global Trust Certification, which evaluates their performance on the basis of U.N. guidelines that several scientists said are less stringent. Global Trust spokesman Michael Carroll said his group holds fisheries to a high, internationally recognized standard.
For some American consumers, the credibility of these standards is critical. Snejana Andjelkovic, shopping at the Whole Foods store on P Street NW in the District, said she scrutinizes labels “because I care about the environment and what I eat, what I put in my stomach.”