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Faroese Fisheries for Cod and Haddock have achieved certification to the MSC Fisheries Standard

The FISF Faroe Islands cod, haddock, tusk and ling fishery has achieved certification for cod and haddock to the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) globally recognised standard for sustainable fishing today. The new certification for cod and haddock is an extension of the current MSC certification for ling and tusk in Faroese waters.   

The certification follows a rigorous and independent review that verified the fishery’s sustainability to the global science-based standard set by the MSC.  

This is a significant milestone for the Faroe Islands, a country of 53,000 people which relies on exports for jobs and income.   

As well as safeguarding fish stocks and the marine environment, the fishery will now be able to export MSC labelled cod and haddock products to overseas markets, helping to create new market opportunities.   

To help manage fish stock sustainably and achieve MSC certification, the fishing industry influenced the Faroese Government to change the law. In December 2020, Jacob Vestergaard, Minister of Fisheries, made an executive order to introduce a scientifically-based management plan limiting the number of fishing days for the cod and haddock fisheries.   

The fishing industry also created a new unified fishing body, the Faroe Islands Sustainable Fisheries (FISF), with the aim of raising fishing management standards in line with the MSC’s robust sustainability standards.   

Hanus Hansen, chairman of Faroe Islands Sustainable Fisheries (FISF) says: 
“In the industry we have been working systematically towards this situation, where the Faroese fishing authorities adjusted the fishery management system to be sustainable according to international principles.”   

“We therefore applaud that the independent auditors have now certified the Faroese fisheries for cod and haddock as sustainable against MSC’s Fisheries Standard.  This will benefit the industry and society as a whole.”   

Jacob Vestergaard, The Minister of Fisheries in the Faroe Islands says: 

“Our objective is to manage the fishing stocks under Faroese sovereignty in such a manner that the future generations can obtain the same benefits from our sea resources as the current generations. 
“I therefore chose to implement a system with a management plan based on scientific advice for each fish species, where we, in a systematic manner, follow the scientific advice to ensure sustainable fisheries. It is very satisfying to see that these efforts have paid off with MSC certification. This benefits all parties, since the world demands sustainably caught fish products, while we need the income from the fish exports.”   

Gisli Gislason, the MSC Program Director North Atlantic says:   

“The Faroese fishing industry have been actively engaged with the MSC since their first certification of herring in 2010.   I applaud the national effort made where industry and government worked effectively together on national management improvements. The Faroese industry has organised themselves into a new fishery client setup in the organisation FISF, which administers their international certifications.  I’m sure this unified setup will continue to help the Faroe industry to maintain current certifications and add new certifications in time.”   

Durita í Grótinum is the chief executive officer of FISF says: 

“FISF has represented the Faroese industry in the process of certifying the Faroese fisheries as sustainable. Our cooperation with MSC has been very satisfying. MSC has a lot of formal requirements to the fisheries and the fisheries management system to meet their principles. That we have been able to achieve this goal is because the Faroese authorities have listened to experts to implement a management plan. Going forward, it is vital that we follow through in accordance to the management plan for the different fish species to preserve the MSC certification. It has also been vital that the Faroese Marine Research Institute has internationally recognised scientists, who foster scientific confidence in the Faroese fisheries management system.”