The MSC certificate for the Faroese Pelagic Organisation (FPO) Atlanto-Scandian herring fishery has been suspended today by certifier Det Norske Veritas (DNV). In an expedited audit, DNV concluded that the Faroese allocation of an independent quota for Atlanto-Scandian herring three times larger than last year’s quota meant that the fishery is now operating under a ‘controversial, unilateral exemption from an international agreement.’ As such, the fishery is no longer within the scope to be certified under the MSC Standard. Faroese Atlanto-Scandian herring caught after midnight tonight are not eligible to bear the MSC label.
Under the terms of the suspension, the FPO has 90 days to create a plan to address the issue and, by doing so, bring itself back into the scope of the MSC programme. If the fishery submits a plan within the time limit, its certificate will remain suspended while the plan is implemented and the issue resolved. If the FPO is unable to submit a satisfactory plan to ensure effective and sustainable management of the fishery within 90 days, DNV will withdraw the fishery certificate.
At present, the suspension has no effect on other MSC certified Atlanto-Scandian herring fisheries. Camiel Derichs, Regional Director Europe for the MSC said: “It is very unfortunate that this fishery is now suspended. However setting a very large quota outside the management plan, in a situation where the stock is decreasing is not in line with the MSC standard for well-managed and sustainable fishing. The stock situation has decreased for natural reasons over recent years and this requires all coastal states to take their responsibility to work together to turn the trend upwards. Now is the time to act to secure a sustainable future for the whole of the Atlanto-Scandian herring fishery. I urge all stakeholders involved to work together for the common good.”