Scottish mussel production
Mussel partnership celebrates MSC certification
Jun 27, 2012
Seafood Shetland and the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group Limited (SSMG) are celebrating the news that together they have achieved the highly coveted Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for the Shetland and Scottish Mainland rope grown mussel enhanced fishery.
The fishery produces blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) grown on static ropes suspended in the clear waters around Shetland and the Scottish coast.
Subject to Chain of Custody traceability, all Shetland mussels and those produced on the Scottish mainland by members of SSMG Ltd are now eligible to display the MSC ecolabel on the certified product, which should further strengthen the product’s position, and open up new markets, both in the UK and overseas.
The partnership arrangement between the two parties was a logical move given that much of Shetland’s mussel tonnage is sold through SSMG Ltd.
Low environmental impact
A rigorous assessment of the wide-ranging MSC principles and criteria was undertaken by independent certifier Food Certification International (FCI), together with an extensive review of data sources and a programme of comprehensive stakeholder consultations. Several key strengths have been highlighted, acknowledging the low impact of the fishery on the ecosystem and the existence of robust governance and policy.
Responding to the announcement, Chief Executive of Seafood Shetland, Ruth Henderson said: “We are delighted by this significant development for the industry, which is worth £5.3 million to the local economy. Our mussel farming industry has been built on its outstanding reputation for product quality, with 4,567 tonnes produced in 2011, representing 65 per cent of Scottish production.
“It is vital that we can support this message of quality with the fact that, while we continue to grow, we are doing so in a way that respects the Marine Stewardship Council’s Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fisheries.
“The certificate was awarded today at a celebratory seafood lunch at the Shetland Seafood Centre where, of course, our mussels took centre stage.”
Committed to environmental responsibility
Stephen Cameron, managing director of SSMG, added: “We are committed to environmental responsibility and achieving this prestigious recognition demonstrates to our customers and consumers that our farms are dedicated to cultivating a quality and sustainable product.”
Claire Pescod, UK Fishery Outreach Manager for the MSC, continued: “I’d like to congratulate the SSMG, Seafood Shetland and in particular the 36 mussel farms on the West Coast and in Shetland on this great achievement of MSC certification. These are the first enhanced fisheries in Scotland to gain the MSC ecolabel and their certification makes a significant contribution to the availability of MSC certified sustainable seafood in the UK and Europe.”
Support for progressing to Full Assessment was provided by The Co-operative Group, by way of a £20,000 donation from its Sustainable Fishing Fund. The £200,000 Sustainable Fishing Fund was created in 2008 to improve the sustainability of UK fisheries.
John Atkinson, Environment Adviser for The Co-operative said: “As a leading retailer of sustainable seafood, we have committed substantial funds to improve the sustainability of the UK fishing industry. We are delighted that this fishery has attained the MSC standard. Following our recent decision to use these mussels for the ‘Cooked Scottish Mussels in White Wine Sauce’ sold in the Co-operative Food, we are particularly pleased this mussel fishery has achieved the MSC seal of approval, further increasing the sustainable seafood choices available in our stores.”
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