Iceland’s saithe fishery has been MSC certified as sustainable and well-managed following an extensive 18 month assessment. The fishery, which lands around 50,000 tonnes of saithe each year, scored highly across all of the six fishing gears including bottom trawls, handlines and Danish seine nets.
The fishery client, Iceland Sustainable Fisheries (ISF) was established in 2012 following the Icelandic group certification of the cod and haddock fisheries. ISF was founded to share the cod and haddock certificate and it now has 34 members. ISF holds and shares certificates for cod, haddock and for two herring fisheries. This saithe certificate is the first fishery that ISF has taken all the way through the assessment through to certification.
Protecting delicate habitats
The fishery certification included three conditions, including an agreement to put in place further conservation and management measures for vulnerable marine habitats. Over the next four years, this will ensure that delicate structures such as hydrothermal vents and large sponges receive a formal protection in the fishery management.
Gunnlaugur Eiríksson, Managing Director at Iceland Sustainable Fisheries said: “Iceland Sustainable Fisheries (ISF) is very pleased to have the Icelandic Saithe fishery MSC certified. The certification is another milestone in our journey to get all the main fisheries in Iceland certified as sustainable. As well a confirmation of our commitment to be leading in providing sustainable sourced fish into the markets.
“ISF has been growing rapidly and now members are 34, from the biggest seafood companies in Iceland to small producers. That shows that the seafood industry in Iceland is fully behind what ISF stands for and recognizes the importance of sustainable and well managed fisheries. “
World class management
Gisli Gislason, MSC Country Manager, Iceland, congratulated the ISF group on their success: “I would like to congratulate ISF for their commitment and the constant growth in members which consist of both, fishing, processing and export companies. The majority of the Icelandic seafood industry are now engaged in the MSC programme and ISF are an important stakeholder in the MSC."
Iceland has a reputation for good fisheries management and by getting this fishery certified against the MSC standards highlight this. The certification is also a further tool for ISF members to promote and demonstrate to the market that the Icelandic saithe fishery are sustainable and well managed. I hope this MSC certificate will continue to bring value to the companies that have signed up to the ISF. I look forward to continuous work with ISF.”
Icelandic saithe is primarily processed for export as frozen fillets but some is also exported salted, dried and fresh to markets in Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Nigeria.
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