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Ross Sea Toothfish Assessment: Objections Upheld


ANTARTICA - An Independent Adjudicator has instructed the third-party certifier Moody Marine Ltd to amend the Final Report of the Ross Sea toothfish assessment to take into account his decision to uphold four of the objections lodged by the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) against the certification.

The decision follows a 12 month scientific assessment of the fishery by Moody Marine, and a ten month review of the objection.

In his decision, the Independent Adjudicator, Mr Michael Lodge, concludes that the certifier failed to provide adequate evidence to justify the high scores awarded on four specific performance indicators.

These relate to the evaluation of harvest strategies, management and regulation of vessels, and the extent and effectiveness of stakeholder consultation by the relevant national and regional management bodies.

The objection, submitted in December 2009, included challenges to the scores of over 30 performance indicators of which eleven were remanded to the certifier for review and either rescoring or to provide an improved explanation for retaining the score.

Mr Lodge has accepted the certifier’s justification for retaining the score on seven of the performance indicators remanded. He also accepted that the certifier had adequately considered stakeholder comments submitted during the assessment, and therefore dismissed an objection on procedural grounds.

This is the Independent Adjudicator’s final decision and no further appeal or objection is permitted within MSC’s assessment process.

To progress the assessment process, and in accordance with the MSC objections procedure, Moody Marine Ltd will be required to incorporate the Adjudicator’s findings into a revised Final Report, as follows:

where the Adjudicator accepted Moody Marine’s responses to the objections, those responses must be included in the Final Report;

where the objection was upheld, the Final Report must consider the implications of the Adjudicator’s decision for those performance indicators, propose appropriate scores and decide whether the original recommendation for certification can still stand in the light of those changes.