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Canadian Industry Partnership Obtains Important MSC Sustainability Certification for Greenland Halibut (Turbot) Fishery

December 5, 2019

Certification means greater market access & benefits for Canada’s Atlantic and Arctic fisheries

St. John’s, NL, Canada - Today, four leading Canadian industry associations, together with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), announced that products from the Canadian Greenland Halibut (Turbot) Fishery in Fishing Areas 0AB2J3KLMNO can now bear the MSC label that identifies sustainable, well managed fisheries from across the world.

“Obtaining this MSC certification is a testament to the cooperation and collaboration among the four associations and the producers and/or harvesters they represent or buy from,” said Kris Vascotto, Executive Director of the Atlantic Groundfish Council. “We are united by a shared vision of a long-term, sustainable and prosperous fishery for all. The tangible benefit of this certification shows that when industry participants work together, everyone benefits. Such benefits underpin the Atlantic Groundfish Council’s efforts to increase collaboration across the fishing industry as a whole.”

The sustainability certification applies to Greenland halibut harvested by trawl or gillnet from areas extending from the Northeast coast of Nunavut, along the east coast of Labrador and Newfoundland, as far as south as the Grand Banks.

Combined, these fisheries account for about 21,500 mt of Greenland halibut quota harvested by Canadian enterprises, including Indigenous, inshore, midshore, and offshore fishers.

“This is exciting and positive news for the Canadian fishing industry. Canadian Greenland halibut finds a home in selective European and Asian markets where customers are increasingly conscious of the origins of the food on their plate. These customers demand that their seafood is sustainably and responsibly sourced,” explained Alastair O’Rielly, Executive Director of the Northern Coalition. “Securing MSC sustainability certification ensures accessibility and competitiveness in discerning global markets.”

MSC is the most globally recognized program for wild sustainable seafood and meets the highest international guidelines for credible certification and ecolabelling programs. The rigorous 18-month assessment scrutinized all aspects of the fishery to ensure they comply with internationally accepted sustainability principles for management, bycatch and habitat.

“With more and more Canadian seafood becoming MSC certified, it not only signals to global markets that the Canadian fishing industry can meet their requirements, but also that we share their values in terms of sustainably harvested wild seafood,” added Brian Burke, Executive Director of the Nunavut Fisheries Association. “As a 100% Inuit-owned association, respect for sustainable use of our marine resources is paramount to our members. The commitment to ensure a sustainable fishery is shared by the four associations behind this effort.”

“As the client for the first MSC-certified fishery in Canada for northern shrimp, shared now with other industry partners, we have here another example of strong collaboration. My hat’s off to my industry colleagues and their members for seeing the value in both sustainable fisheries and working together,” added Derek Butler, Executive Director of the Association of Seafood Producers.

The MSC sustainability certification is effective immediately. More information on the fishery is available on


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