- Certifier :
- SCS Global Services
- Certified status :
- Certified since :
- 29 May 2012
- Certificate expires :
- 19 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 Macquarie Island, 1,500km southeast of Tasmania.
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. The 2012 assessment showed that Macquarie Island stocks are now at around 72% 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 Macquarie Island fishery began in 1994 as a trawl fishery. Following trials that demonstrated how a range of mitigation strategies could avoid the bycatch of seabirds in longline fishing, longlining became an approved method at Macquarie Island. It has been the only fishing method for toothfish since 2010, with strict seabird bycatch limitations imposed, and met, every year. Gear restrictions are also in place to avoid bycatch of marine mammals.
The Macquarie Island fishery includes one of the largest marine protected areas in the world, covering 162,000km2 – more than a third of the waters around the island.
Toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) image © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book