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'Sustainable' Seafood Labels Come Under Fire

from Scientific American

About one-quarter of seafood sold as `sustainable' is not meeting that goal, according to an analysis taking aim at the two leading bodies that grant this valuable label to fisheries.

In an online paper in Marine Policy and at a conference this week in Edinburgh, UK, fisheries biologist Rainer Froese of the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, launched a stinging attack on the schemes by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the marine-conservation organization Friend of the Sea (FOS) to certify fisheries as sustainable. Such schemes aim to help consumers and retailers to support fisheries that are sustainable and not exploited by overfishing.

Both organizations approve certain stocks of fish and seafood to carry their logo, designating these species as environmentally friendly, and both say that their certification processes are scientifically credible. The presence of the logos can result in higher prices and increased consumer demand for food products that carry them.

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