The case of the Star Shrimper XXV / by Francisco Blaha

Private sustainability endorsement may not always mean a lot (or even less legality). I think I been quite clear in the past on my views on eco-labels. I still believe that is better to support the responsible authorities in the Flag, Port and Coastal States than a private certification, which at the end of the day responds to a business model. 

 The man with the gun seems to be the real "friend of the sea"...  (Image by Sea Shepherd

The man with the gun seems to be the real "friend of the sea"...  (Image by Sea Shepherd

Here is a Nigerian flagged shrimp vessel with Dutch beneficial ownership, arrested in Liberia for fishing without a license, not using turtle exclusion devices, and other charges. Yet is certified as "Sustainable Seafood" by "Friends of the Sea" an eco-label based in Italy, that claims in most tuna meetings I have been, they are the best... and invariably finish in a cat fight with MSC and others.

Furthermore, the vessels are authorised to export to the EU, so is to be assumed that catch certificates must be signed by the Nigerian Fisheries authority and the vessel is in compliance with EU seafood safety requirements, both requested by EU market access requirements.

Recently I voiced my concerns under the assumptions for Principle 3 in many of the tuna vessels under certification from MSC, which at least tackles the fishery as a whole and does not just provide certification to individual companies or vessels. 

But this case is blatantly wrong, and it amazes me that the company still certified as you can see in this page

We always hear when the authority of a least developed country does not have control, yet when there is a clear lack of oversight by this eco-label that charge a lot of money for their logo use, not much info goes around.

Remember this news when they want to sell you their certification.

 Image by Sea Shepherd

Image by Sea Shepherd