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Clearwater Seafoods Banquereau and Grand Bank Arctic surf clam fishery earns MSC certification
Jul 17, 2012
The Clearwater Seafoods Banquereau and Grand Bank Arctic surf clam (Mactromeris polynyma) fishery on the continental shelf off eastern Canada has been successfully certified in accordance with the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) global standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. Clearwater’s Arctic surf clam products are now eligible to carry the blue MSC ecolabel in the marketplace.
The independent certifier, Intertek Moody Marine, completed the assessment after a thorough audit of the fishery's practices and after engaging interested stakeholders since March 2011. Other Clearwater Seafoods products that bear the MSC ecolabel are offshore lobster, offshore sea scallops, Patagonian scallops, cold water shrimp, and snow crab.
About the fishery
The fishery, an offshore bivalve clam operation using vessels towing hydraulic dredges, is located in two areas of FAO Statistical area 21: on Banquereau Bank off the coast of Nova Scotia and Grand Bank off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Currently, only two out of a maximum four vessels are operating in the Canadian enterprise allocation management system. A recent survey estimated the Arctic surf clam stock of the fishery to exceed 2.5 million tonnes, while the annual total catch has been about 23,000 tonnes in recent years.
The Arctic surf clam is a long-lived species with significant numbers reaching 40 years or more. The hydraulic dredge system loosens the sandy substrate in which they dwell and the clams are collected in a grate that lets younger, smaller clams slip through. The areas that are fished are typically not fished again for at least ten years, leaving time for the clam stock and the seabed habitat to regenerate. The primary markets for Arctic surf clam are Japan, China, and to a growing extent, the U.S.
What the fishery says
"We are extremely proud that our Arctic surf clam fishery has achieved MSC certification. It is a significant milestone for our company and for the international markets we serve," said Christine Penney, Vice President of Sustainability and Public Affairs for Clearwater Seafoods. "Clearwater now has our full line of core species offerings certified to the world-recognized gold standard in sustainable fisheries."
What the MSC says
"We congratulate Clearwater Seafoods on certification of the Arctic surf clam fishery, the world’s first offshore clam fishery to obtain MSC certification," said Kerry Coughlin, MSC Regional Director, Americas. "Clearwater is a leader in ensuring and demonstrating fishery sustainability, evidenced by the majority of what they source now being certified."
About the assessment and certification
Intertek Moody Marine, an independently accredited certifier, was the certifier for this assessment. During the process, an assessment team of scientists evaluated in detail the three principles of the MSC standard: the status of the fish stock, the impact of the fishery on the marine ecosystem, and the management system overseeing the fishery. More information about the Clearwater Seafoods Banquereau and Grand Bank Arctic surf clam fishery and the complete Public Certification Reports detailing the fishery's successful assessment against the MSC standard can be found in the Track a Fishery section.
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