©Western Rock Lobster Council
Fisheries certification update: November 2012
Nov 01, 2012
Eleven fisheries have become MSC certified since July, with almost half those achieving the required standard for sustainable and well managed fisheries working in the shellfish sector. In addition to these firsts, the New Zealand Hoki fishery deserves a special mention, after successfully completing its second recertification.
Meeting demand for sustainable snow crabs
The world’s first offshore clam fishery to obtain MSC certification is the Clearwater Seafoods Banquereau and Grand Bank Arctic surf clam Hydraulic Dredge, a fishery operating off the east coast of Canada. The milestone was reached when it became certified in July; Clearwater Seafood’s Arctic surf clam products are now eligible to display the blue MSC ecolabel in the marketplace.
The Scotian Shelf snow crab trap fishery also obtained MSC certification in July – the first snow crab fishery in North America to do so. It was swiftly joined in the program by the southern Gulf of St Lawrence snow crab trap fishery which became MSC certified in September, prompting Peter Norsworthy, executive director of the Affiliation of Seafood Producers Association of Nova Scotia, to say that "eco-conscious consumers can feel assured that snow crab supplied by Nova Scotia producers is harvested in a sustainable and responsible manner."
Minimising impact on the environment
The Dee Estuary in North Wales is one of the United Kingdom's premier locations for wetland and shorebirds and in July the Dee Estuary cockle fishery obtained MSC certification. It was notable that in their report, the auditors made particular mention of the fishery’s management techniques. The cockle fishery makes sure that it leaves enough cockles to provide food for the region’s distinctive oystercatchers and minimises its impact on the environment.
The Exmouth Mussels company, also in the UK, is also acutely aware of its environmental responsibilities – it works within a site of special scientific interest, a conservation designation denoting a protected area in the United Kingdom, and a national and local nature reserve. The company has developed specialist harvesting equipment that hovers over the seabed, lifting the mussels with water jets and leaving the base layers untouched. In granting the fishery MSC certification, the independent certifiers found that it not only met the MSC standard for sustainable fisheries but was also proactive in its efforts to support conservation and maintain good relations with local conservation NGOs.
Crown jewel of wild salmon fishing now MSC certified
Congratulations must go to the Ozernaya River sockeye salmon fishery, described by the Wild Salmon Center - a not for profit organisation that promotes the conservation and sustainable use of wild salmon ecosystems across the Pacific Rim - as one of the crown jewels of global wild salmon fishing. The southwest Kamchatka coast, which includes the Ozernaya, is the most biodiversity-rich region for salmon in the world.
The main markets for Ozernaye sockeye are Japan, China and Canada, although interest from the US and Europe is increasing.
Opening up new markets for Faroese cod and haddock
The cod and haddock caught by the Faroe Island North East Arctic cod and haddock fishery is filleted, headed, gutted and frozen at sea then landed in Faroese ports, ready for export to the EU. The fishery achieved MSC certification in August. The certification covers the entire Faroese fishery for North East Arctic cod and haddock within the Barents Sea, the fleet consisting of two 60 metre vessels operating demersal trawls all the year round.
“This certification will open up new markets and also allow us to build on existing markets. We are very excited to see what is in store for us,” said Jógvan Hansen, General Manager at fishery owner, JFK Ltd.
In the same month, another Faroese fishery became the first silver smelt fishery in the world to gain MSC certification. Silver smelt fishing takes place around the Faroe Bank and Faroe Plateau in the North East Atlantic where the six vessels of the Faroese fishery of Great Silver smelt take 95 per cent of the total Faroese silver smelt landings, with the biggest hauls usually made in July and August.
The fishery uses lightweight semi–pelagic demersal trawls and catches 20,000 tonnes annually, which is sold mainly to Europe with Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England, Scotland and Ireland being key markets.
Small scale fisheries in the MSC program
Lobsters from a small scale, artisanal fishery in the Mexican portion of the Mesoamerican Reef are now eligible to display the blue Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) ecolabel, having met the rigorous standard required. The Sian Ka'an and Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserves spiny lobster fishery obtained MSC certification in July – the fourth fishery in Mexico to do so but the first lobster fishery in the Caribbean region.
Commenting on the certification, Jaime Medina-Flores, president of the Regional Federation of Fishing Cooperatives from Quintana Roo, said: "For our fishermen, having MSC certification represents more than a success, it is a possibility to obtain global support, increasing the benefits from being a responsible and orderly fishery, not only in markets but for our activities and communities."
Successful management measures allow stocks to recover
At the end of August the US Atlantic spiny dogfish fishery was awarded MSC certification. Through careful management measures such as low annual catch quotas and trip limits, stocks have recovered from a point in 2009 when landings were 3,300 metric tons to an allowable commercial catch of 16,101 metric tons in the 2012-13 fishing year.
The fishery operates along the east coast of the US from Maine to North Carolina and uses three gear types: gillnet, longline, and otter trawl. It was assessed by independent, third-party certification body, Intertek Moody Marine.
Commitment to fish stocks now and in the future
Kurt S Madsen, chair of the Danish Fishermen’s Producer Organisation (DFPO), is proud that, with news that the DFPO Denmark North Sea & Skagerrak haddock fishery had become MSC certified in August, the ambitious goal that the organisation set itself – MSC certification of all its members – is almost realised.
"This shows that our commitment to secure both today’s and future fish stocks is worth the effort and we hope that consumers will contribute by making sound choices at the fish counter as well," he said.
Finally, also showing incredible commitment to sustainability is the Hastings fleet Dover sole trammel net, gill net and trawl fishery in the UK, gaining recertification to the MSC standard in late July.