After overcoming a lot of obstacles in getting the dates fixed with the objectors from the Spanish tuna industry and the ISSF, we can finally say that the MSC adjudicator has fixed the dates of the objection hearing of the PNA Free School skipjack tuna to November 8th and 9th in London! Last month we told you we were in the last stage of the certification process, and we still are. The PNA team defending the objections to the certification now needs to travel half way around the world.
You may be wondering why it has been delayed if normally these kind of procedures take 30 days from the day the adjudicator invites all parties to the table, therefore, why in this case will the hearing take place almost 60 days later?
The answer is that it has been unquestionably very difficult, almost impossible to arrange a date for the hearing that was acceptable to the objectors OPAGAG, Eurothon and ISSF. Since none of the proposed dates matched the agenda of the objectors, the previous independent adjudicator Mr. Michael Lodge had no other option than to hand over his duties to a new adjudicator Mrs. Melanie Carter.
Lodge had to step out because his availability was limited to the end of October, and the parties had been taking too long to agree on a date and location, they did not seem to be in any hurry.
It is now a priority- for both the independent adjudicator and MSC- to ensure that the objection procedure of this very important tuna certification process will be completed within this year. Normally the adjudicator will give his final verdict to MSC within one month of the hearing, so that should be feasible.
Many people have asked us how we feel about the outcome. Well, we continue to be very confident of a positive judgment following this hearing. If around Dec 8th the adjudicator announces that the objections cannot be upheld, then the MSC certification of our FAD free skipjack fisheries will become a fact within this year.