Fisheries certification update: November 2013

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Source: Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

Collectively, the fisheries certified since our last newsletter bring an estimated additional 880,000 tonnes of fish into the market with the potential to carry the MSC label. They include whitefish, shellfish, herring form several fisheries and toothfish.

Whitefish certifications welcomed by buyers

The Russian Sea of Okhotsk walleye pollock fishery, which provides fillets, surimi and roe for domestic Russian and export markets, was entered into assessment by the Pollock Catchers Association (PCA) and certified in September. “Pollock is an important protein source for Russian and global markets,” said Kerry Coughlin, MSC Americas Region Director. “The PCA will help assure these markets that they are sourcing from a fishery that is committed to protecting stocks for this and future generations.”

Bringing more whitefish to market is the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group saithe fishery. As part of the certification, they will be helping to protect a recently-discovered bed of cold water corals. Mike Park, Chair of SFSAG, commented 'MSC allows us to obtain recognition in a way the consumer can grasp; they know their choice is sustainable because of the MSC logo.'

The Germany North Sea saithe fishery has been recertified with no conditions, having fulfilled all of the requirements of its original certification over five years. These include adopting ‘intelligent nets’, which reduce impact on cod bycatch.

French toothfish certified

Operating in the south Indian Ocean between the Roaring Forties and Furious Fifties - latitudes famed for their strong winds and currents - the French Kerguelen toothfish fishery has achieved MSC certification. The Réunion-based fishers apply conservation measures set by the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), in particular those concerning the protection of birds, the presence of on-board observers and the monitoring of bycatch.

More scallop fisheries meet MSC standard

In the Faroe Islands, managers of the queen scallop fishery celebrated MSC certification after using the MSC’s risk-based framework to overcome a lack of scientific data on scallop stocks.

In operation for more than 100 years, the Full Bay sea scallop fishery in Canada, MSC certified in July, expects its sustainable practices will ensure productivity into the future. Certification will enable the fishery to market its fresh and frozen scallops with the MSC ecolabel.

Mussel fisheries look to sustainable future

Demonstrating collaboration between the Irish and Northern Irish governments, the certification of the cross-border Irish mussel fishery will help secure markets in the Netherlands. Donal Maguire, representing the fishery, said 'This is a sustainable sector with great scope for expansion and MSC certification will improve consumer and investor confidence.'

Harvesting from the Wadden Sea National Park in Germany makes the blue mussel fishery [LINK] a very closely regulated and monitored fishery to obtain MSC certification. Fishing licenses are only issued after inspection by the authorities and if birds such as eider duck and oyster catchers have sufficient food. The fishery will be undertaking research to support its strict management plan and increase understanding of the role and behaviour of mussels in this precious habitat.

North Sea herring recertifications

Two North Sea herring fisheries have been recertified – the Swedish fishery and the Scottish (SPSG) fishery – ensuring their products continue to carry the MSC ecolabel. Since their original certifications, these fisheries have supported new research and stock rebuilding work ensuring improvement of their already impressive environmental performance.

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