The Fishery

Making a Difference
CFL has always worked consistently to not only improve the sustainability of its own operations, but also to contribute to the improvement of fishing practices in the industry.

Leading Research

Since the company’s inception in the mid 1990s, we have been at the forefront of researching better fishing practices within the toothfish industry, leading to critical early research into seabird mortality mitigation measures. Research into avoidance of whale depredation on the lines and investigation into the impacts of longlines on benthic habitats have all led to modifications of our fishing habits over the years.

Other areas of research include the use of otolith microchemistry to gain insight into toothfish demography, genomic analysis of stock structures, and the biology, ecology and life-history strategies of toothfish in the SW Atlantic

Best Choice

Through the CFL Hunter’s unique design, careful practices, and commitment to research and development, we are classed as one of the world’s best toothfish fisheries, ranked as one of the three “Best Choice” toothfish fisheries around the world by the Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch programme.

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Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ)

Until 2007 management of exploitation levels of the fishery was controlled by restriction on fishing capacity rather than through quota. The fishery was limited to a 2-vessel fishery and maximum catch was restricted by the fishing capacity of these two vessels.

Since the introduction of an ITQ system, fishing is limited to quota that is determined each year by the outcome of a stock assessment process, which has included an Age-Structured Production model (ASPM) since 2013 to establish the maximum sustainable yield.

The model includes the ability to forecast changes in the stock biomass depending on harvesting levels and other variables.

Our annual Sustainability Measures document outlines the outcomes of the stock assessment process and current and future research projects.
Marine Stewardship Council
MSC is an independent organisation that utilises its fishery certification programme and eco-standards to recognise and reward sustainable fishing practices worldwide. The organisation aims to influence the choices people make when buying seafood to transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis.


In March 2014, the Falkland Island longline fishery became the first local fishery to be certified as sustainable under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fishing.

The MSC Standard assesses fisheries under 3 over-arching principles:  the status and management of its principle stock (targeted species), the status and management of the environmental impacts of fishing, and the effective management of the fishery.

Where a fishery doesn’t meet certain minimum standards, conditions apply and progress against those conditions are assessed annually by an audit team. Fisheries are certified for 5 year periods after which they are re-assessed according to the latest MSC criteria

Not only is the Falkland Islands’ toothfish fishery recognised as sustainable through its MSC certification, but the label provides a chain of custody for CFL’s product. This means that our customers can trace the product’s source to its precise location and date of catch.

We encourage all consumers of toothfish to request traceability of the product from suppliers. This is one of the ways that we can help remove any trace of illegal product on the market.

You can track our fishery or view the assessment report on the MSC website.
IUU Fishing and COLTO
For all licensed fishing vessels in the world, the activities of illegal, unlicensed and unregulated (IUU) vessels are a real cause for concern.

The dumping of illegal fish on the market can cause price fluctuations to the detriment of both the buyers and the producers, but more importantly, unregulated fishing has caused many stocks around the world to reach critical population levels.

Having once been one of the products most affected by these activities, the illegal and unreported capture and sale of toothfish is now virtually eliminated, thanks to the efforts of many organizations and individuals around the world.

Convention on the Conservation of Marine Living Resources

CCAMLR set up a catch documentation procedure for toothfish known as a DCD (Dissostichus Catch Document) which traces the importation and movement of toothfish products around the world. Adopted by most countries in the world, the scheme has made it extremely difficult and costly for IUU vessels to discharge their cargo.

Some countries, such as the USA (a principle market for toothfish products), have taken further steps by refusing importation of any toothfish product from vessels that have not consistently reported their position to CCAMLR using a centralized VMS system. This allows CCAMLR to track all toothfish vessels which are seeking to export product to the USA.

Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators

The industry has also responded. In 2003 CFL helped establish this organization, which devised a scheme whereby fishermen working on illegal vessels could claim a reward for information which could lead to a conviction of the vessel owners.

With the success of this enterprise, COLTO has dedicated more effort in recent years to combat the negative and outdated perception of toothfish as a threatened species. With 70% of toothfish fisheries now MSC Certified, there is clear evidence of the sustainability of toothfish fisheries.