Bear with me here of a moment as I review the last few days in the life of Alaska pollock-on Wednesday the fishery was cleared for Marine Stewardship Council recertification and then on Thursday Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) downgraded it from best choice to good alternative.
I'm sorry. Come again.
One day it's cleared for MSC certification and the next it's downgraded by MBA?
Pollock is a popular target for environmental groups who use exaggerated claims about the apparently always looming threat of collapse to raise eyebrows and, more importantly, money. It would appear MBA has fallen victim to the hyperbole pedaled by groups like Greenpeace.
Here's a look at some of MBA's comments about Alaska pollock:
- "Bycatch rates in the pollock fishery are generally low, but in recent years, the fishery has caught large numbers of Chinook salmon from stocks that are experiencing dramatic declines. It's unclear the extent to which the pollock fishery is contributing to these declines."
- "There's also conflicting evidence about the role of the pollock fishery in the decline of the endangered Steller sea lion and Northern fur seal, both of which rely heavily on pollock for food."
- "Despite these concerns, some aspects of pollock fishery management are progressive and precautionary. Management has taken steps toward an ecosystem-based approach that, relative to other fisheries worldwide, is considered highly effective."
So, MBA is downgrading a species that is MSC certified and has a "progressive and precautionary" management system in place that is "highly effective" because of "conflicting evidence" and potential impacts which it is admittedly "unclear" about.
Sound like concrete reasons to you?
Alaska pollock has been, and continues to be, one of the best managed fish stocks in the world. Downgrading the stock so MBA can bring its metrics in line with bottom feeding types who insist on playing politics with pollock undercuts its own rankings.