Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara


in association with
The Latin America Fisheries Fellowship Program

"The Role of Fisheries Certification in Seafood Sustainability:
Insights from The Marine Stewardship Council"

Nicolás L. Gutiérrez
Senior Research and Policy Manager
Marine Stewardship Council

Monday, February 24, 2014
Bren Hall 1414

"Nicolás Gutiérrez is one of the leading scientists at the Marine Stewardship Council, and his research within the fishery certification industry shows the value of this market-based tool in working toward the sustainable use of fishery stocks worldwide." — Jose Zenteno, LAFF Fellow, student host

Marked-based incentives are an increasingly popular method to promote the development of sustainable fishing practices and reduce impacts on marine ecosystems. In particular, certification and eco-labeling have been the most prominent and fastest-growing incentives, requiring fisheries to comply with standards to achieve healthy fish stocks, minimize environmental impacts, and promote effective management. In return, eco-labeled products may attract new markets, retain commercial commitments, achieve higher prices and wider consumer acceptability, or a combination thereof. Voluntary certification schemes may also strengthen stakeholder engagement in fisheries management and governance, with the potential to shape national and international policies. Nevertheless, the emergence of seafood eco-labeling schemes has led to debate about their actual effectiveness of in promoting sustainable fish stocks, their legitimacy, their transparency, the integrity of their supply chains, and other related issues. From a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) perspective, this talk will address some of the challenges faced by fisheries certification schemes in developing global standards and keeping up with best available science. Some examples of the environmental, social, and economic effects of MSC certification will be shared, as will a perspective on the evolution of voluntary certification schemes and their future role in shaping sustainable fishing practices and governance.

Nicolás L. Gutiérrez is the senior research and policy development manager at the London-based Marine Stewardship Council, where he leads the teams responsible for the policy development process, science communications and training, and monitoring, evaluation, and research of the program. He also conducts policy and research projects designed to evaluate and improve accessibility and robustness of the MSC certification program for developing world fisheries. Prior to taking up his post at MSC in 2011, Gutiérrez focused his research on the interplay among ecological processes, fisheries management, and co-management governance. Gutiérrez holds a PhD in fishery sciences from the University of Washington and has worked in fisheries management at the national and international level for 15 years. He has taught several courses on marine conservation and fisheries stock assessment and has publications in numerous scientific journals, including Nature. He has receivedf the Fulbright Scholarship (USA), the Organization of American States' Initiative in Ecology Award (Uruguay), and a National Science Foundation fellowship (USA).

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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