Pesquera Ancora vessel "Arosa Catorce"
Spanish AGARBA Barents Sea Cod fishery enters MSC full assessment
Jun 07, 2012
The AGARBA Barents Sea Cod (Gadus Morhua) fishery, the major partner association of the Spanish cod fleet, has entered today into independent, third-party full assessment towards the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)  certification program for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.
About the fishery
The client for assessment is AGARBA (Asociación Nacional de Armadores de Buques de Pesca de Bacalao), National Association of Cod Fishing Owners which holds 39,04% of cod total share both in the NAFO´s fishing ground and the Barents Sea (Norway´s ZEE and Svalbard protective fishing area). The unit of certification is composed by 3 vessels. In 2011 the total catches were 6000 metric tones.
The gear of the fishery is bottom trawling and operations take place in the ICES subareas I & II. If the fishery succeeds in securing certification, products sourced from the fishery will be eligible to carry the blue MSC ecolabel.
Agarba member of the important Cooperative of Fishing Owners ARVI
AGARBA is part of the Cooperativa de Armadores de Vigo (ARVI), and it is composed by Pesquera Áncora SLU, a company located in Vigo´s port and a part of the UK leader, UK Fisheries, and Velaspex SL, an experienced family-run company. The union between family traditions and the experience of an industrial fishing group results in a dynamic and pragmatic association that aims to adapt to the new fishing challenges in order to achieve sustainability.
AGARBA's motivations for their interest in the MSC full assessment certification program have their origin in the same reasons for their own existence. AGARBA believes that self-regulation is the best tool to achieve sustainability and MSC, as a leader and independent organization, can certify and add value to it. Furthermore, MSC opens doors to new commercial opportunities and to consolidate their presence in markets where MSC already operates like United Kingdom, but mainly in the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal and Spain, where lately MSC has been gaining territory.
What AGARBA says
Iván López, President of AGARBA says: “AGARBA is firmly committed to a sustainable future for the Fishing Industry and believes that the best way to achieve said objective is to promote and adhere to those initiatives that help to advance self-regulation in the industry. Also we believe that MSC certification is the best available way of underlining that commitment to a better future. As active members of the Spanish Fishing Industry, AGARBA and its members are fully aware of the stereotypes that the image of this industry is subject to in many markets due to the distorted and uniformed image that is projected by some interest groups. Achieving MSC certification is the best way to prove that our standards are just as high as anybody’s and that our commitment to sustainability, both environmental and socioeconomic, is just as firm.”
What the MSC says
Laura Rodriguez, MSC Country Manager for Spain and Portugal, says: “AGARBA is the sixth Spanish fishery entering the MSC assessment and the second Spanish cod fishery into the program. The announcement from Pesquera Ancora and Velaxpex demonstrates that sustainability credentials from an independent credible certification program constitutes an added value for the Spanish fishing sector not only for export markets but increasingly for domestic ones. I wish them a very successful process”.
About the certifier
The assessment will be carried out by the independent certifier: Food Certification International Ltd. The team will assess the fishery against the three Principles of the MSC environmental standard and examine the health of the target stock (the Northeast Arctic cod stock); the impact of the fishery on the wider marine ecosystem; and the effectiveness of the fishery’s management in securing the long-term sustainability of the stock and minimizing impacts on the ecosystem.
Anyone who would like to bring information about the fishery to the attention of the certifier can be involved in the assessment process. If you would like to be involved, please contact Joanna Kabut at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is expected the assessment will take 12 months to complete.
For more information, please contact email@example.com