SAGB Presentation notesFront slideChair, M la ud (la die s), m e m be rs of t he fishm onge rs c om pa ny e t c ..I fe e lvery humbled to have been asked to address the conference today. I haveto say that the room looks very different from here and whilst in would innormal circumstances i would much prefer to be sitting amongstdelegates, given that I know (more or less) what is coming up, you allinstead have my sympathies.Before commencing, a bit of explanation. Rather that deliver thispresentation entirely through the medium of words, figures and chartsfactual matter - I thought it might spark conference dele gatesimagination, particularly at this time of day, if we used some picturesinstead. This, I think, benefits you as it saves you from being confrontedby too much of my poor diction and questionable punctuation whilst givingconference an opportunity to appreciate some, in my mind at least,interesting art. I am also hoping that there is the hidden benefit (to me) offiring my imagination up enough to enable me to fully appreciate theconcept of ecological coherence in marine protected areas that JamesMarsden will hopefully touch upon in the following presentation.All in all though, upfront apologies for any mixed metaphors orinconsistent analogies.I have also veered away largely from discussing the process ofassessment that we undertook in the Menai Strait, as even though for meit is of great interest I appreciate that this might be something to do withsubjectivity (although I would like to apologise to MEP for being stroppyclients and the the Co-op for part funding the certification)The structure of the title of course come from the famous lines in Hamlet,_ To be of not to be, that is the question; whether tis nobler in the mind tosuffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, - and by taking armsagainst a sea of troubles and by opposing end them. And so on..(Denmark the home of the msc Vilsund mussel fishery (more of that later))These much used words have been applied to a multitude of concepts andissues no doubt many before with a fisheries context all indications ofthe language and the genius of Shakespeare.I d just lik e t o sa y t hough a t t he out se t I think that the MSC has achievedmuch, however......
First slideSo in t he w ords of 1 9 7 0 s housewives favourite, Max Bygraves, I want totell you a story. And all stories have a beginning, a middle andoc c a siona lly a n e nd (a lt hough in t his c a se I don t t hink w e a re quit e t he reyet)This picture : Miranda the Tempest by John William Waterhouse waspainted in 1916 and was one of several interpretation of the subject byWaterhouse. For those who may not know, Miranda is the daughter of theOld Duke (and sorcerer), Prospe ro in Sha k e spe a re s fina l play TheTempest. [ba nishe d t o a n isla nd by prose pe ro s younge r brot he r a nt ionio]And w ha t I d lik e you a ll t o do is look a t t he ship, founde ring in t he st orm yseas being slowly inexorably driven onto the rocks as Miranda watcheson. Imagine that it is the e a rly 1 9 9 0 s a nd t hink of t he ship a s t he im a ge ofthe fishing industry, personified in for the purposes of this by theNewfoundland cod fishery, the cliffs are those of doom and collapse andMiranda, is in all her winsome and helpless naivety, society.In terms of impact, the catastrophic decline of this fishery 20 years ago, ofwhat it represented and how it altered the way in which external societyviewed global commercial fishing activity can be seen as a watershedmoment. That this cod fishery, described so vividly in its immenseness byJohn Cabot on arriving in Newfoundland at the end of the 15 th century,provided all the necessary legitimacy for those who sought to makecomment on the systematic failure of fisheries management and mindlessabuse by the fishing industry of what was considered and largely remainsa public resource. From this point on it became not just sociallyacceptable but also commendable for many to describe fishing practicesin the harshest terms (i.e . rape and pillage of t he se a )Second slideThe landscape associated with fishing 9in its widest sense) became verypolarised after 1992, with those seeking to maintain access (foreconomic, social political reasons) described as apologists andenvironmental vandals; and those environmental organisations whosought more control condemned as zealots. Something was needed tointroduce balance. In 1997 along came John Wayne, the Duke (who else?)..the marine stewardship council heroically, here using the identity ofJohn Wayne in this work by Andy Warhol from 1986. This picture of Waynew a s pa rt of a se rie s of 1 1 port ra it s c a lle d c ow boys a nd I ndia ns t ha t se t
out to challenge and expose the preconceptions held by society of thenative American population.The initiative of the WWF and Unilever with the creation of the MSC soughtto achieve similar objectives and to challenge the then rapidly developingpre c onc e pt ion t ha t t he w ords sust a ina ble a nd fishe ry c ould ne ve rrealistically be joinedThe basis for the MSC mark lies within the FAO code of conduct forresponsible fisheries. It has three core principles (1) Sustainability of thetarget species; (2) minimising environmental impact; and (3) effectivenessof the fisheries management system as described through 31 performanceindicatorsBrilliant one would think.. butThird slideAnd there are always buts.This picture - Sa lva dor Da li 1 9 3 7 Sw a ns re fle c t e d a s Ele pha nt s w hic h isexhibited in the MOMA in New York, was apparently an expression ofDa li s frust ra t ion a t t he w a y in w hic h his a nd the whole surrealistmovement works were being appreciated. It has the central theme of adouble image. When we see the swans looking down at their reflections instill water, instead of the expected swans own refection we instead seeelephants.So the analogy here I guess is associated with perception;So whilst the internal perception of the structure of the msc system mightwell have been, might well be, that it is functional and appropriate thereare confusions and tensions evident across the spectrum.There are probably not enough days in the week to fully engage in thissubject, however I would like to focus on a few as an illustration.The applicability of a fishery to MSC or what I will call the Alaskansalmon question (sort of the msc equivalent to former MP Tam Dalyell1977 west Lothian question) In November 2010, the North Menai Straitm usse l fishe ry be c a m e t he first e nha nc e d fishe ry, globa lly, t o be c e rt ifie dthrough MSC way hay!! Good for us and good for our little country. Orw here we ?? until late 2008/ early 2009 the prevailing view was that theMSC standard was only applicable to those fisheries that could bec onside re d t ruly w ild , inde e d t he scope of the label had been the subjectof much internal and external debate. But what of the Alaskan Salmon
fishery this fishery was one of the first really large fisheries to becertified by MSC in 2000 and recertified in 2007. Without question it fulfilsthe 3 core principles of the certification and in addition is an extremelylucrative fishery that provides substantial and sustainable employment inareas where often little alternative exists. It is also a fishery based to aconsiderable extent (some 20-40%) on salmon smolts that are reared inhatcheries. How could this be considered truly wild, when theanthropogenic intervention of our fishery (and many like it) (which entailsthe relocation of naturally occurring mussel seed from ephemeral beds toon-growing several beds) are considered to be enhancement?The functional unit of certification and this one really begs a furtherbigger question of purpose and identity. As an example Can i take youback to the introductory slide and the mention I made of the MSC Vilsundmussel fishery in Denmark mentioned at the outset (the hamletconnection) as an example. The overall fishery is prosecuted by some 51vessels operating within the Limfjord in denmark, only 27 of these vesselsare controlled by Vilsund. All the vessels operate and are managed in abroadly similar way, in the context of the 3 core principles, however onlythe Vilsund vessels are MSC certified. Does this mean that the remaining24 vessels are not operating as sustainably? Or does it merely mean thatthe Vilsund controlled vessels have sought to achieve (and paid to get) anadditional market recognised distinction to maintain market share. Thequestion here really is what is msc about promoting sustainability orpromoting brand? Is it about adherence to the 3 core principles or is it aprivate sector levy?Who are in the audience in the sense of who benefits and who pays forthat benefit. One of the main drivers (sticks/carrots whatever) for ourentry into seeking the msc mark, was a statement made in 2008 by theDutch retail sector that by 2010 they would be seeking to source all theirmarine species from msc labelled fisheries; walmart followed on with asimilar statement at around this time, similar statements have since beenmade by many of the major retailers (although encompassing many of theother eco-labels applicable to the sector) it looked as though msc (eco-labels) were becoming simply condition of access this has yet to fullymaterialise. Is this label then a factor for retailers and wholesalers interms of their CSR (or whatever other applicable terms Waitrose ethicalsourcing and sustainability) or is it for their customers. We are informedby much consumer research (my fellow traveller on the Seafish boardQuentin Clark has spoken widely on this ???) that recognition of the labelby the end consumer is still relatively low and that ultimatelyconsumption is still largely driven by price. A paradox could emerge in theshort term at least those that pay to go through certification, will be tosom e e x t e nt be c a rrying la rge r c ost s t ha n t hose w ho don t all competing
on the same price sensitive market place, i.e. msc certified productsmight be less attractive to the consumer if they cost more or may be lessprofitable to the producer if they are sold in an open market.Who are the critics and is the criticisms valid? i.e. does the MSC pass theCuprinol t e st ( doe s e x a c t ly w ha t is sa ys on t he t in ) Any organisation thatpositions itself in the manner that the msc, deliberately or inadvertently,on a pedestal, can expect to be the subject of some slings and arrows.And the MSc has its fair share of critics, some of whom might bede sc ribe d a s t he usua l suspe c t s t hose who have something of a trackrecord for criticising the prevailing view in fisheries (which be definitionmakes them high profile) such as Greenpeace, Scripps Institute, Somehigh profile academics and fishery scientists such (Daniel Pauly, CallumRoberts, Sidney Holt. This group tend to look at the MSC structure (there fle c t ion on Da li s pond) a nd se e som e t hing e lse , inadequate, lookingback at them; a syst e m t ha t doe sn t a c hie ve m e a ningful sust a ina ble useof fisheries as defined through their own view. Whilst some of these criticsare appear to be inna t e ly dispose d a ga inst t he ide nt it y of fishe rie s intheir modern form (industrial, privatised, corporatized etc) and accuse themsc of failing to protect the environment in its widest sense, they also arevery professional and wise in their use of the media.A further group of critics are those who focus on the structural in-equitabilities evident within the process - and accuse the MSC of beinginherently biased toward large scale fisheries and less accessible tosmaller scale activities. A recent op-ed in the Belgium fishing newsfocussed particularly on this matter. There are also those critics fromlesser developed nations who often see the entire eco-labelling initiativeas being structurally protectionistThe final group of critics are those from within the glass house thecritics from the Certified fisheries. These are comprised both of those whoquestion the direct effect and also the cost benefit ratio of becoming MSCcertified.Do any or all of these critical voices have just cause for their positions?MSC have argued that its purpose and objectives are clearly definedwithin the 3 core principles and that it does not seek to be portrayed as awider arbiter of sustainability, but is this a credible retort from anorganisation that could not be accused of being in any way naive as to itsposition in the market?It has argued that the pre assessment filtering process is a relativelyaccessible and rapid way of determining whether a fishery (of whateversize or structure) might be eligible to transit through the process, and soin that sense access to the process is in no way exclusive.
And as for the final group, the most worrying group possibly, MSC havealso commented on the fact that they cannot control market behaviourand point to the more indirect and less immediate benefits of certification.Fourth & fifth SlidesN e a rly a t t he e nd you ll be gla d t o he ar.The next two slides are kind of interchangeable. It would have beenimprobable to have structured a presentation associated with the sea viathe medium of art without pulling on these two pieces. Firstly we haveDa m ie n H irst s bre a k t hough t he physic a l impossibility of death in them ind of som e one living from 1 9 9 1 the famous tiger shark in an eternalstasis floating in formaldehydeAnd se c ondly w e ha ve Bot t ic e lli s birt h of ve nus 1 4 8 5 which is to mymind probably the most overwhelming painting I have ever had the fortuneto see with my own two eyes, in the uffizi in Florence.The analogy posed here is associated with identity. Just what is the MSCand what is it seeking to achieve. In many ways i would argue that theMSC is and increasingly has become something more akin to the Birth ofVenus t ha n H irst s sha rk . I t is c urre nt ly se e n a s t he c la ssic fishe ry e c o-la be l, a nd just a s t he gre a t M e dic i s fa m ily c om m issione d Bot t ic e lli, so t heWWF, t he gra ndda ddy of e N GO s, had its hand in the creation of the MSC.Hirst s shark represents the newcomer, the more modern take. Interestingthe tiger shark pictured is the second one that Hirst has used to createthe work as the first one decayed inside the tank as a consequence ofcontamination. So maybe not just a symbol of the new but also of thereviewed. There are now of course a seemingly ever increasing number ofeco-labels associated with fishery and aquaculture at the seafood expoearlier on this month the Aquaculture stewardship council formerlyaccepted its standards, it was joined in presence at the show not just byMSC, but also global gap, GAA, Friends of the Sea and Icelandicresponsible fisheries and others. Many retailers have instigated their own in-house la be ls t ha t pe rsona lise t he t a k e on w ha t sust a ina bilit y re a lly isto them. It sometimes can feel as though we are in the midst of an eco-label arms race.I m not sure t ha t w a s e ve r re a lly t he int e nt ion
Sixth and final slideYou might think that this is an unusual picture to end on. This is by theAmerican post war artist Andrew Wyeth it s c a lle d Christ ina s w orld(1948), and to some eyes can look quite bleak. The figure of a fragilecrippled girl seeming to hold out her hand helplessly as she seeks toachieve the impossible and make it home across the empty plain.However another way of looking at it is as a symbol of perseverance andtriumph through force of will. The story behind the picture is that theChristina of the tile was a great friend of the artist, who had been crippledfrom early life by a polio like infection. And rather than confine herself to ato a wheelchair, Christina used to pull herself around her family, theOlsens, property on her hands collecting flowers and the such like.So the final analogy for you to grasp is that the house in the distance istruly sustainable long term use of fisheries and aquaculture resources, thefigure moving toward that point, maybe sometimes slowly maybeinexorably but always moving would be the sector and the apparentlyempty but on examination quite complex plain in between is populated byall manner of things including ecolabels - the shell of the msc venusflowing on ahead with John wayne watching her back as the shark ofI c e la ndic re sponsible fishe rie s t rie s t o st e a l a he a d t he he ll you w ill (sa idin a john wayne manner)Thanks you.
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