The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has joined forces with the BalticSea2020 foundation to launch its program in Poland. Over the next three years, the MSC will help build a more sustainable fishing industry in the region, and provide Polish shoppers more opportunities to choose ecolabelled seafood.
Poland - an important fishing nation
With more than 100,000 tonnes of annual catches, Poland is an important fishing nation on the Baltic Sea coast. The country also hosts many processing facilities that provide markets worldwide with fish and seafood products. “The MSC program is helping fisheries worldwide improve their performance, to the benefit of the marine environment. With the BalticSea2020 foundation’s generous support we can now deepen our engagement with this vital sector in Poland, and with our partners, help promote the continuing transformation of the European seafood market to a sustainable basis,” said Camiel Derichs, MSC European director. Anna Debicka, MSC project manager for Poland, will deliver the strategy. She says: “Many buyers at European retail companies and brand manufacturers are demanding MSC certified seafood. They want to meet their customers’ growing demand for sustainable choices, and they recognise how their sourcing decisions contribute to the health of the world’s oceans. Our goal is to help the Polish seafood industry compete in a global marketplace that is seeking out credible, certified products. We also aim to build relations with scientific institutes, government bodies and conservation organisations to turn them into active supporters of fisheries and businesses seeking assessment and certification. Finally, our target is to grow domestic demand for certified seafood, by increasing awareness for seafood sustainability with Polish consumers - a trend that is already visible in other European countries and will certainly catch on in Poland as well.”
With more than 50 Polish processing and trading companies certified to MSC’s Chain of Custody standard, some of the ground work has already been done. Through certification, these companies have proven that their MSC-labelled seafood is fully traceable, from the final product to the fishery that caught the raw material. To date, more than 200 products in Poland carry the distinctive MSC ecolabel and give consumers the confidence that the seafood comes from a sustainably managed source. In the next three years, the MSC plans to engage 85 Polish supply chain companies, increase the number of MSC-labelled products to 600 and see at least two Polish fishing organisations become certified to its environmental standard for well-managed and sustainable fisheries.
The MSC’s fisheries standard is considered the world’s most rigorous and comprehensive set of criteria for sustainable fishing. For a fishery to achieve MSC certification, it must fulfil three principles: The targeted stocks must be abundant, the effects of fishing operations on the marine ecosystem must be minimal, and the management of the fishery must provide an effective framework that allows the sustainable use of the ocean’s resources.