NE Sakhalin Island salmon fishery. Photo credit: Brian Caouette, Wild Salmon Center
Fishery certification update: July 2012
Jul 09, 2012
The last few months have brought us the recertification of the world’s first MSC certified fishery, certification of the first oyster fishery, and new sources of white fish, shellfish and toothfish.
Certifications from diverse fisheries
Ninety-five per cent of the Danish North Sea sole fleet was awarded MSC certification in June. The certification forms part of the Danish Fishermen’s Producer Organization (DFPO plan to have all Danish fisheries certified as sustainable under the MSC program before the end of 2012. Currently, 72 per cent of DFPOs fisheries have earned MSC certification).
On the other side of the globe in Australia, two toothfish fisheries – the Australian Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) Patagonian toothfish fishery and the Macquarie Island toothfish fishery – became certified as sustainable against the MSC environmental standard for sustainable and well managed fisheries. Now, almost a third of the world’s legally harvested toothfish is certified sustainable by the MSC. These certifications are a demonstration of the collaboration between Australian government, industry, conservation groups and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation in ensuring the fisheries are well managed and sustainable. Nearby, the New Zealand Southern blue whiting trawl fishery has achieved MSC certification, and its products can now bear the blue MSC ecolabel. In 2010/11 the total allowable commercial catch set by Government was 44,848 metric tonnes and in that period approximately 39,000mt was landed.
In a growing commitment to sustainable fishing in the Russian far east, the NE Sakhalin Island pink salmon fishery has become the third fishery in Russia to earn MSC certification. The market for the fish is mainly domestic consumption, however, there has been increased interest from USA and Europe. Four other fisheries in Russia are currently in full assessment.
New certifications from the Americas
A third Argentinian fishery has recently become certified as meeting the MSC standard. The Argentine hoki trawl net fishery achieved MSC certification as a sustainable and well managed fishery in May. Hoki is a very important species in the global white fish market, with the primary markets for the annual catch of 70,000mt being Japan, France, Germany, China and eastern Europe. Following MSC certification in April, the Mexico Baja California pole and line yellowfin and skipjack tuna fishery, in the Mexican Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the west coast of Baja California, has become the first MSC certified yellowfin tuna fishery in the world. And, in waters off Nova Scotia and on the Grand Banks, inside and outside the Canadian EEZ, the North West Atlantic Canada swordfish pelagic longline fishery has gained MSC certification for sustainable fishing.
MSC certified herring
Underlining the Scottish pelagic sector's commitment to sustainable harvesting and environmental responsibility, the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group’s (SPSG) West of Scotland herring fishery was recently awarded MSC certification, helping to meet the growing demand for MSC certified herring, particularly in the northern Europe and German market. Also, with the Celtic Sea herring fishery now eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel, fish accounting for 90 per cent of Ireland's Celtic Sea herring catch will be certified as sustainable.
Increasing sustainable cod, haddock and saithe supplies
Icelandic Group PLC has achieved MSC certification for all its cod and haddock originating from Iceland. The Group is now exploring how to make the certification an inclusive process for the Icelandic fishing industry through certificate sharing. Following the certification, all cod and haddock from Iceland fisheries – a total allowed catch of 160,000mt of cod and 50,000mt of haddock per year – will be eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel. The North-East Arctic cod and haddock fishery becomes the fifth French fishery to be certified to the MSC standard for sustainable fishing. As an example of joint commitment to sustainable fisheries management, already certified independently for their catches of saithe in the North Sea, the Boulogne fleet EURONOR and the Compagnie des Pêches Saint-Malo worked together to gain MSC certification for cod and haddock. The North East Arctic cod, haddock and saithe fisheries, fished by UK Fisheries Ltd and the German companies, DFFU and Doggerbank, have been MSC certified as well-managed and sustainable fisheries. The certification will be particularly welcome in the UK, where the majority of the fisheries’ cod is sold each year.
More shellfish certified
The last quarter has seen plenty of shellfish become MSC certified. Another new species has joined the MSC program with the MSC certification of Denmark’s Limfjord oyster dredge fishery – the first oyster fishery in the world to be granted MSC certification. Seventy-six fishermen with license to fish oyster caught approximately 600mt with vessels 12 metres long or smaller during last year’s fishing season. Crab and scallop lovers will be pleased to hear that the Louisiana blue crab fishery is now MSC certified as a sustainable and well-managed fishery, along with three Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation fisheries – King Scallop, Velvet Crab and Brown Crab – which became the first of their kind globally to achieve the MSC certification. Also, across the North Sea, the Norwegian North East Arctic cold water prawn fishery became the latest northern European fishery to gain MSC certification. The Norwegian fleet, which comprises 89 vessels, catches around 30 per cent of the total catch. Europe is the main market for Norwegian cold water prawns.
In particular, more mussels
A number of new Danish mussel fisheries have joined the program over the last few months, which means 100 per cent of Danish mussel exports are now eligible to carry the internationally recognised blue MSC ecolabel. In the east coast of Jutland, the Royal Frysk Jutland blue shell mussel dredge fishery gained MSC certification. Last year their three vessels landed 6,600mt of mussels, which was 88 per cent of the entire mussel landings on the east coast of Jutland. Also achieving MSC certification was the Seafood Rømø East Jutland and Isefjord blue shell mussel dredge fishery, which harvests approximately 1500mt of blue shell mussels every year. Seafood Rømø operates two vessels, one in the Isefjord and one off the eastern coast of Jutland all year around. In Limfjord, two Vislund Blue mussel fisheries gained MSC certification as part of the Danish company’s continuous commitment to sustainable fishing – the Vilsund Blue Limfjord rope-grown mussel fishery and the Vilsund Blue East Jutland blue mussel fishery. Denmark’s MSC certified blue shell mussel fisheries are spread from the Limfjord in the north-west of the Jutland island, through its eastern coast down to the Isefjord on the Zealand island in the south-east. The catch is sold locally or exported to markets from Europe to the Middle East. In the UK, three quarters of mussels are now certified sustainable following the MSC certification of the Shetland and Scottish mainland rope grown mussel enhanced fishery. These are the first enhanced fisheries in Scotland to gain MSC certification.
A milestone for the MSC program is the recertification of the Western Australian rock lobster fishery, which was not only the first fishery to achieve MSC certification in March 2000 but also the first fishery to become MSC certified for a third time. Congratulations also to the Patagonian scallop fishery, which achieved recertification in April. The Patagonian scallop fishery was the first Argentine fishery and the first scallop fishery in the world to achieve MSC certification. Five years on the fishery continues to demonstrate that it is sustainable and well managed.