First Swedish mussel fishery enters MSC assessment
Nov 15, 2012
Today, a Swedish Shellfish Producer Organisation (SSPO) rope-grown blue mussel fishery began full assessment against the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) standard for well-managed and sustainable fisheries. If successful this will be the first mussel fishery in Sweden to achieve MSC certification.
Developing the mussel industry in Sweden
Swedish mussel farming began in the 1970s, but it was not until 1983 that production started to become significant. However, production levels have varied over the years. Declines in production observed in the late 1980s were attributed to the presence of toxic algal blooms. The Swedish Shellfish Growing Producer Organisation (SSPO), was formed five years ago with the aim of developing the mussel industry in Sweden.
About the fishery
The SSPO Swedish west coast rope grown mussel fishery takes place in Skagerrak and Kattegat. The mussels are harvested all year around. Catches vary, ranging in recent years from 1477 tonnes up to 2430 tonnes. The blue mussel is mainly sold fresh to domestic markets, but also to continental Europe.
Sustainable market for blue mussel
“We see MSC as a seal of approval of our sustainability. Now, as market demand for more certified seafood is on the increase, we of course want to ensure that our mussels are recognized as sustainable. We look forward to beginning the assessment and we hope we will succeed in proving that our fishery is sustainable and well-managed,” says Bengt Gunnarsson, SSPO.
What MSC says
“We are extremely pleased to see that the Swedish Shellfish Producer Organisation has decided to enter Swedish mussels into the programme. This decision demonstrates their commitment to sustainability as well as reflecting strong market demand. The cultivation of mussels has minimal impact on its immediate environment but the fishery will have to comply with all environmental legislation with regards to fishing in sensitive areas, “ says Minna Epps, Manager Baltic Sea Region.
Stakeholder participation in assessment
Anyone with a stake in the mussel fishery can be involved in the assessment. The certification body Food Certification International (FCI) Ltd seeks to open a dialogue with all organisations or individuals with direct interest in this fishery. Stakeholder consultation is a vital part of the MSC assessment process and FCI encourage anyone with knowledge or information relevant to this assessment (in terms of the status of the stock, ecosystem interactions or fishery management practices) to share this with FCI and its assessment team. Comments should be sent in the first instance to: Joanna Kabut, fisheries administrator email@example.com