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MSC in the Baltic Sea region

Certified fisheries

The Lake Hjalmaren pikeperch fisheries in Sweden were the first Swedish fisheries to obtain MSC certification in 2006 and the first freshwater fisheries to enter the MSC programme. Since then, they have been joined by Astrid Fiske’s and SPPO's herring fisheries in the North sea, as well as the SPPO's mackerel.

Denmark has proven faithful to its commitment made in 2009 to have all of its fisheries entering the MSC programme before 2012 and they now have 6 species MSC certified (mackerel, herring, mussel, saithe, plaice and cod). The Danish, Swedish and German Eastern Baltic cod fisheries have made great improvements with increased fish stocks and are now all certified sustainable.

Fisheries in assessment

There are many fisheries in the region in full MSC assessment. Danish sole, hake, haddock, oyster and more mussel fisheries are in the process, Swedish Baltic Sea herring and sprat await results of the assessment, and the Åland coastal fisheries of whitefish, perch and pike-perch are currently undergoing the pre-assessment process. The MSC Baltic Sea Region programme is actively pursuing outreach in the region with the hope to see more Baltic Sea fisheries thrive within safe biological limits.

Supply chain

Denmark, as a major seafood hub, has shown great interest in the MSC programme. Companies like Espersen, Rahbek, Royal Greenland, Nordic Seafood and JP Klausen and many more are all fully engaged. In Sweden, the processing industry is smaller than in Denmark, but the Swedish industry has still made positive steps in relation to MSC.

Companies such as Findus, Abba Seafood, and Feldts Fisk offer a good range of MSC-labeled products under their own brand, also sold in other Nordic countries - and are successfully promoting MSC certified sustainable seafood. The certification of the Swedish Eastern Baltic cod fishery, initiated a chain reaction of MSC CoC applications.

Many primary and secondary processors like Skillinge Fisk-Impex AB, Sweden Seafood and others obtained MSC Chain of Custody or will be in the near future. We are also seeing increased interest in the foodservice sector. Poland also has a large fish processing industry, providing many MSC certified products to the German market.


The Swedish retail sector has fully embraced sustainability as a minimum requirement for seafood sourcing. Top retailers ICA and Coop are long-term supporters of the MSC programme and they continue to broaden their range of MSC-labelled seafood products. Coop has increased their MSC portfolio from 2% in 2008 to 35% in 2011. In 2010, Coop, together with Findus and Abba Seafood and MSC, carried out a successful first joint-marketing campaign. The retailer was first to have MSC-certified fish counters on the Swedish market and is increasingly applying pressure on the supply chain. Lidl has also been at the forefront of promoting MSC certified seafood in the region with both TV and Radio spots in main Swedish channels. Other retailers such as Willys are also planning MSC in-store campaigns.

In Finland, Kesko, one of Finland’s largest retailer groups and several others are gradually increasing their range of MSC labeled products. MSC Baltic Sea Regional Office is now actively engaged in dialogue with Danish retailers showing interest in sourcing sustainable seafood and promoting the MSC. The number of MSC-labelled products on the Danish market is rapidly increasing year on year.

Foodservice and restaurants

There are more than 250 MSC certified foodservice products on offer for business-to-business in Sweden, which includes both fresh and frozen products. It is becoming much easier for restaurants, schools and hotels to find MSC certified products to suit their needs, and, with four of the largest foodservice suppliers (Servera R&S, Menigo Foodservice, Svensk Cater [Uddevalla] and Gunnar Dafgårds) obtaining MSC Chain of Custody certification, it is now possible for outlets to get certified and use the MSC ecolabel on their menus.

The MSC's Fish and Kids project brings sustainable seafood sourcing to schools and helps children learn about marine environmental issues and sustainable fishing. So far 57 schools in Sweden are using the MSC ecolabel on their menus to show teachers and families sustainable lunch choices. In 2009, Helsinki Zoo, on the beautiful Island of Korkeasaari, celebrated the certification of Finland’s first two MSC-certified restaurants. In Poland and Denmark the foodservice and restaurant market is virtually untouched, but this is likely to change in the years to come.

Find out how your company can get involved in the MSC program.

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