Before joining the MSC in February 2016, I spent 3 and a bit years working for the UK government as fishery manager. One of my roles was to assess the impacts that different fishing techniques have on protected marine environments. As with many elements of fisheries management, the answer to the question: “Which fishing method is most environmentally-sound?” isn’t as simple as it may seem.
Healthy tuna populations are essential to thriving oceans and fishing economies as well as being an important source of food. Tuna are among the most commercially valuable fish on the planet, providing livelihoods for artisanal fishing communities through to supporting large multinational companies. As such, protecting tuna populations and ensuring that they are fished in a sustainable way, is a global conservation and development priority.
I cannot over emphasise the importance of our oceans. Not only do they provide a vital source of protein, a playground for recreation and our first line of defence against climate change, it is estimated that some one billion people rely on the oceans for their livelihood.
A new analysis of global fish catch published this week by scientists at the University of British Colombia serves as a timely reminder of the contribution that fishing makes to food security and the potential it has to damage marine ecosystems if not managed effectively.
The findings make a strong case for the need for sustainability and good management of our oceans resources. Something that the MSC program is tackling across the world.
My belly full from one too many meat-centric dinners I find myself thinking the Italians are onto something with their seafood-focused Christmas meals. I live in Canada, blessed by three oceans and millions of lakes, I work for the MSC… So why, oh why do I persist with my views that a holiday meal must include turkey or ham? Time to buck tradition!
Dr Amadou Tall is a former member of the MSC’s Technical Advisory Board. His vision is to see the MSC boost its presence in Africa and other developing regions as he believes there is now a political will to manage such resources responsibly.
How would you describe your time on the MSC Technical Advisory Board?
One of the first things I learnt on the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) was that there are lots of acronyms [laughs]. At a later stage I contributed along with colleagues to the MSC Chain of Custody Standard, including DNA testing. I also worked on the question of how to certify fisheries in Africa, where there are many artisanal fisheries. During my tenure I’ve had many proud moments. However, the highlights for me will be when we concluded the MSC Chain of Custody Standard review and when the MSC and the African Union InterAfrican Bureau of Animal Resources decided to work together.