- Certifier :
- SCS Global Services
- Certified status :
- Certified with component(s) in assessment
- Certified since :
- 16 Mar 2012
- Certificate expires :
- 16 Jul 2022
Patagonian toothfish (also known as Chilean seabass) is a large predatory and opportunistic scavenging fish that can reach an age of around 50 years and grows close to 2m in length. Its white, flaky, moist flesh is highly sought after by chefs due to its versatility and being rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.
Patagonian toothfish are distributed around parts of South America and sub-Antarctic waters. This Australian fishery is located in the waters off Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI), a remote group of volcanic islands in the Southern Ocean, 4,000km southwest of Perth.
Toothfish are slow to mature, and populations have been severely depleted by overfishing, particularly illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. However, stocks are rebuilding, and more than half the total catch now comes from certified sustainable fisheries. A 2011 assessment showed that HIMI stocks are now at around 63% of unfished levels.
The fishery is managed in line with guidance from the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). CCAMLR adopts both the “precautionary approach” and the “ecosystem approach” which require that all other living resources of the Southern Ocean are treated as an integrated system. The fishery includes measures such as bird-scaring lines (tori lines) to reduce possible bycatch of seabirds.
The HIMI region includes one of the largest marine protected areas in the world, covering 65,000km², with an additional 11,500km² being considered for inclusion. This means that 39% of all waters shallower than 1,000m around HIMI are no-fishing zones.
Toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) image © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book