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First ever Chinese fishery achieves MSC certification

Chinese scallop fishery, Zoneco has become the first Chinese fishery to achieve Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. Formerly known as Zhangzidao, Zoneco’s achievement marks an important landmark in the global sustainable seafood movement.

The fishery joins a leading group of more than 250 MSC certified fisheries that are helping to ensure healthy marine ecosystems for the future. Achieving MSC certification brings global recognition to this pioneering fishery’s efforts, and will also help safeguard the livelihoods of the 20,000 scallop fishermen employed by the fishery cooperative.

Zoneco, located on Zhangzidao Island, currently produces 30,000 - 50,000 tonnes of scallops annually, the majority of which are sold in China. The fishery hopes that the MSC certification will help it reach wider markets where the MSC ecolabel is increasingly sought-after by seafood buyers and consumers.

Mr Wu Hougang, Chairman of Zoneco, said: “I am so excited to achieve MSC certification. This represents more than four years of hard work by a large number of people and reflects our long-term commitment towards sustainability.”

“We recognized the vision and mission of MSC which led to us creating a better management system in order to meet the requirements of the MSC Standard. I very much hope that Zoneco will contribute towards the global sustainable seafood market through this international programme” added Mr Wu Hougang.

Located off Dalian city in China and operating in the North Yellow Sea, Zhangzidao Island has a rich history. Zoneco began in a small fishing village in 1958. It has since grown to become one of China’s leading fisheries, listed in the Shenzhen Stock Exchange Market. Today the fishery covers more than half a million hectares of ocean, recognized by the Chinese government as some of China’s cleanest marine waters. 

Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council, commented: "I’m delighted that such an iconic fishery is the first in China to achieve MSC certification. This fishery has undergone independent scientific scrutiny to ensure that it meets the MSC’s robust requirements for sustainable fishing. We look forward to continued partnership with Zoneco and promoting this important accomplishment."

The assessment against the MSC Fisheries Standard was carried out by independent auditors and marine scientists from Intertek Fisheries Certification. The transparent process examined the fishery’s impact on the marine ecosystem as well as the effectiveness of its management in ensuring that the environment is protected for the future.

The celebration of the first Chinese MSC certified fishery was held in Brussels on 22 April, during Seafood Expo Global, the largest seafood trade event in the world. The ceremony was witnessed by Chinese government officials, representatives from the seafood industry, NGOs and the media.

During the event, Dr Cui, executive vice president of CAPPMA (China Aquatic Product Processing and Marketing Alliance), the leading seafood industry association in China, said:  "We congratulate Zoneco on receiving the first MSC fishery certificate in China. This is a good model for Chinese fisheries to enhance their management practice in a sustainable manner."