Transforming The Trade
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The Marine Aquarium Council brings together fisheries and organizations that collect, produce, and handle marine aquarium organisms around the world. Members are committed to working towards compliance with the Principles and Criteria that have been developed by the Marine Aquarium Council. Members’ efforts are measured against the following four Standards that follow these Principles and Criteria:

The Ecosystem and Fishery Management (EFM) Standard addresses in-situ habitat, stock and species management and conservation by verifying that the fishery and its marine aquarium organisms are managed according to the principles of ecosystem health, biological diversity, and sustainable use.

The Collection, Fishing and Holding (CFH) Standard addresses harvesting of fish, coral, live rock and other coral reef organisms, handling prior to export, holding, plus packaging and transport to ensure ecosystem health, biological diversity, sustainable use, and proper animal husbandry.

The Handling, Husbandry and Transport (HHT) Standard addresses the handling of marine aquarium organisms during export, import, and wholesale operations to ensure optimal health and traceability through the chain of custody.

The Mariculture and Aquaculture Management (MAM) Standard addresses the propagation, collection, and culturing of marine aquarium organisms to ensure ecosystem health, traceability, and proper mitigation of environmental and social impacts.

All MAC Standards have been prepared through lengthy, inclusive, and participative development processes involving industry, consumer, economic, environmental, and social interest groups. During their preparation, stakeholders from around the world and from all parts of the supply and demand chains were consulted. The process by which MAC Standards have been developed follows the World Trade Organization (WTO) requirements.

MAC Standards are applicable to any fishery or organization that wishes to:

  • Implement, maintain, and improve its conformity with MAC Principles and Criteria.
  • Develop a roadmap to certification (e.g., gradual implementation) to comply with MAC Principles and Criteria.
  • Assure itself that it conforms with the Standard.
  • Seek verification, third-party certification, and registration of its conformance with this Standard and demonstrate this to others.

In evaluating compliance with MAC Standards, certifying bodies will not exist on perfection in satisfying the Principles and Criteria; however, failure to meet the minimum indicators will prohibit a fishery or organization from being a member of MAC. Failure in any individual Criterion will normally disqualify a candidate from a claim of compliance with the Standard or may lead to revocation of MAC membership as a fishery or organization journeys through the Roadmap to Certification:

  • Statement of Commitment : the fishery or organization must first pledge to reach compliance with the applicable Standard within three (3) years.
  • Self-Assessment : the fishery or organization next evaluates their ability to fulfill the minimum indicators of the applicable Standard.
  • Fit/Gap : the fishery or organization then identifies fits and gaps with the appropriate Principles and Criteria and develops a work plan for remedying gaps so as to achieve compliance with the applicable Standard.
  • Work Plan Implementation : the work plan is then implemented to maximize the probability of compliance within 3 years.
  • Certification Audit : 3rd party verification is then conducted to ensure compliance with the applicable Standard. Audit findings are addressed as required by the certifying body.
  • Certified Entity : If all major audit findings are resolved, the fishery or organization can claim compliance with the applicable Standard. Continued compliance must be checked via 3rd party audit, while 1st and 2nd party checks and reports can be done throughout. Members are also expected to demonstrate continuous improvement throughout the process.

Considered as the lungs of the planet, coral reefs are vital ecosystems to oceans, as the tropical forest is for the earth.

Unfortunately, coral reefs are also among the most vulnerable ecosystems worldwide. Apart from other devastating causes such as climate changes, pollution, waste disposal, coastal development, anchor damages, the reefs are at risk with an unregulated and uncontrolled trade using chemicals to collect marine species and destroy the reef.

MAC is active around the world with its stakeholders to enhance a responsible and sustainable management of the marine ornamental trade through best practices, by:

  • Requiring reef conservation and management for marine ornamental collection areas
  • Eliminating destructive collection practices and reducing over fishing
  • Contributing to sustainable livelihoods and poverty reduction

You can make a difference and also ensure a healthier planet to our future generation. By supporting the Marine Aquarium Council, you can help guarantee that only responsible environmentally friendly methods of harvesting marine ornamentals are used; guaranteeing a sustainable management of reefs and a responsible marine ornamental trade; providing a livelihoods for costal communities and the rest of the industry.

Together we can be a leader in the transformation of the marine ornamental trade.


Source: “The World’s Coral Reefs are Facing a Real Crisis and are at Serious Risk Being Lost before We Can Even Document or Understand their Wealth of Biodiversity” by Richard L. Pyle

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