Fisheries' eco-labelling and certification

With the increase in demand for fisheries to be certified as well managed, ORI provides support to certification agencies such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The MSC is the world's leading certification and ecolabelling programme for sustainable seafood. It meets the highest benchmarks for credible certification, including the UN Food and Agriculture Organization guidelines and the ISEAL Code of Good Practice. Fisheries voluntarily enter the MSC assessment process where 3rd party experts assess the fishery against the MSC Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fishing (MSC Standard). The results of the assessment are scrutinized by the public and stakeholders, and if all comments can be satisfactorily addressed, the fishery can be certified as sustainable by the MSC. MSC certified products carry a recognizable label, and can often be sold at a premium, or can give access to niche markets. ORI has been involved as 3rd party experts in several fisheries including pre-assessments of the Tristan da Cunha rock lobster and East African lobster and octopus fisheries.

Decision support and management advice

Advice and decision support is regularly sought from the ORI by local, regional and national government agencies, non-governmental organisations, legal firms and the general public. Staff members participate in a range of committees, workshops and panels as well as review the scientific content of various documents including fisheries and coastal environmental legislation. Management support activities include participation on sub-committees for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW), the KwaZulu-Natal Province, the South African Network for Coastal and Oceanic Research (SANCOR) and the National Research Foundation (NRF). Internationally, ORI staff are active in several forums including IUCN specialist species working groups, the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) and regional research management groups.

Post-graduate supervision and training

The ORI is an affiliated research institute of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). Senior staff members provide supervision of MSc, PhD and post-doctorate students in South Africa and other countries of the SADC region. ORI scientists also present the Fisheries Science Module for BSc Honours and MSc courses at the UKZN, as well as contributing to courses on population dynamics to scholars and educators through the Sea World Education Centre, and specifically designed courses such as fish identification courses for the local conservation agency, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW).