New Delhi | Clam fishery in the Ashtamudi estuary in Kerala has received India’s first Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification which will help boost sustainable fisheries and also protect the ecosystem. The certification to Ashtamudi short-neck clam fishery — only the third fishery in Asia to have received this recognition — will help in implementation of measures to ensure that this valuable resource is not over-fished and its ecosystem is protected.
Ashtamudi Lake is the second largest estuarine system in Kerala and the clam fishery there dates back to 1981, supporting the livelihoods of around 3,000 fishers involved in collection, cleaning, processing and trading the clams. The MSC programme is the world’s most rigorous, science-based standard for sustainable seafood.
We are extremely pleased to see this small-scale fishery become the first in India to be certified by MSC’s global standard for sustainable fishing. It will be an important addition to the growing number of developing world fisheries that are demonstrating their sustainability through MSC’s certification programme, said David Agnew, Director, MSC Standards.
MSC Standards is an international non-profit organisation set up to help transform the seafood market on a sustainable basis and runs the only certification and eco-labelling programme for wild-capture fisheries. The achievement of MSC certification will mean the implementation of measures to ensure that this valuable resource is not over-fished and its ecosystem is protected, a WWF statement said.
It will also open up the scope for other fisheries in India to work towards MSC certification that will enhance conservation and sustainability of the resource while providing greater economic returns, it said. The certification was achieved after efforts were made by WWF-India, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and the Kerala State Fisheries Department which worked with the local fishing community.
WWF officials said that the growth of Ashtamudis commercial fishery was driven by demand from Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia in the 1980s and 1990s. By 1991, the catch peaked at 10,000 tonnes a year, but declined 50 per cent in 1993 due to overfishing.
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