Norwegian fisheries for inshore cod and haddock were certified to the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) globally recognised standard for sustainable fishing today.
The fisheries were independently certified by a third-party auditor which assessed the fishery against MSC’s rigorous criteria related to stock health, protection of the environment, and ensuring effective management is in place.
Since 2010 MSC certifications included the inshore and offshore stocks of North East Arctic cod and haddock, but in April 2022 the fishery, Norges Fiskarlag, decided to apply for reassessment to the MSC Fisheries Standard for its offshore fishing only. The offshore cod and haddock catch was MSC certified while the inshore element was no longer part of the certificate.
When cod and haddock migrate to shore they mix with local coastal cod, which were not certified but were classified as IPI, (Inseparable, Practically inseparable). The MSC Fisheries Standard requires an IPI over time either to be separated out of catches or landings or also certified against the MSC Fisheries Standard.
As a result, over the last year, the Norwegian Fisherman association, Fiskarlaget, representing Norwegian fisheries, has worked with the fisheries to regain recertification for these economically important inshore cod and haddock stocks.
MSC certified fisheries meet strict science-based criteria for ensuring sustainable fish stocks, minimising environmental impacts, and effectively managing their fishery. Once certified, MSC fisheries undergo annual audits, deliver improvements against any conditions, and are reassessed every five years.
Details of current fishery assessments and certifications to the MSC Fishery Standard, including any objection that is accepted, are available on the MSC Track a Fishery website.
Gisli Gislason, MSC Program Director North Atlantic says.
“The first Norwegian fishery (saithe) was certified in 2008, so this year it is the 15 year anniversary of Norwegian engagement in the MSC program, and we congratulate them for that. The voyage of getting the inshore cod and haddock back as certified against the MSC standard for sustainable fishing has required successful cooperation and engagement of the fishery client with both the Norwegian government and research institute.
“Commercial partners buying from this fishery have been very keen to once again see this fishery certified, and I am sure that market demand has partly incentivized the client to let that happen. We are grateful for this effort, and we congratulate Fiskarlaget and the Norwegian industry for this tremendous achievement. We look forward to continuous cooperation with all players involved.”
Tor Björklund Larsen, Senior Advisor at the fishery client, Fiskarlaget,
“We are pleased to see the inshore fisheries for cod and haddock finally come back into the fold as MSC certified. In order to keep these certificates, more work remains in the years ahead in further improving the management of coastal cod, hopefully in tandem with improvements to the MSC standard itself.”
Morten Hyldborg Jensen, CEO of Nordic Group and CCO Insula Whitefish says. “Exciting times for the Norwegian whitefish industry! We're thrilled over the re-certification of our inshore cod and haddock by the Marine Stewardship Council.
“This endorsement guarantees seamless access to key markets, including Sweden, UK, Portugal, Spain, Germany and France. Our commitment to sustainability is recognized through the MSC logo.”
Portugal is the biggest export market for Norwegian cod and Rodrigo Sengo, the MSC Senior Program Development Manager, Portugal says:
“We are pleased to see this important component of the Norway fishery in our program. Portugal has an historic and cultural relationship with cod, consuming around 70,000 tonnes of cod each year, with 70% of cod being imported from Norway. With more than 170 MSC labelled cod products in Portugal, consumer awareness along with demand on sustainable cod is increasing. With this major progress, the Portuguese market, supply chain and brands will be able to better support and recognize sustainable cod fisheries.”
Krishan Kent, the Chairman of the Sweden Seafood Association says:
“The MSC label is the most recognised sustainability label in Sweden. The Atlantic cod are one of the most important stocks in the Swedish market. The MSC certification for Atlantic cod is therefore crucial for a sustainable Swedish seafood category.”