Press release

One of Northern Russia's oldest fishing fleets achieves MSC certification

January 26, 2016

One of the biggest fisheries in Russia’s Pomorye region (White Sea coast and surrounding areas), Arkhangelsk Trawl Fleet (ATF), has been certified to the Marine Stewardship (MSC) Fisheries Standard.

The MSC Standard is the world’s most credible and recognised standard for environmentally sustainable wild-caught seafood. ATF now joins a leading group of more than 280 MSC certified fisheries that are helping to ensure healthy marine ecosystems for the future.

Cod and haddock from this fishery can now be sold with the blue MSC ecolabel, indicating that it comes from a sustainable, well-managed source. Achieving MSC certification brings global recognition to this fishery’s efforts, and will also help safeguard seafood supplies for the future.

Since 1920, the ATF has been providing Russian consumers with fish and fish products, and is one of the oldest fleets in the North of Russia. The fishery which uses demersal trawls has five vessels and operates inside the Barents and Norwegian seas.

A great accomplishment

Camiel Derichs, MSC Regional Director Europe says: “Atlantic Cod and Haddock are in great demand in the global whitefish markets, and in Russia as well. Various international fisheries targeting cod and haddock in North-East Atlantic are already MSC certified. It is therefore a great accomplishment that JSC Arkhangelsk Trawl Fleet have now also successfully become certified.

We are proud to see ATF join the many other fisheries working hard to protect our marine ecosystems. We look forward to seeing the first MSC ecolabelled products from this fishery on the markets”.

In 2014, the annual quota was set at 30,803 tonnes for cod and 5,296 tonnes for haddock. The main products from this fishery are frozen-at-sea cod and haddock (headed and gutted) and cod and haddock fillets.

Sergey Nesvetov, Executive director of the ATF says: Through the process of becoming MSC certified, we’ve learnt a lot about the environmental problems that exist in our traditional fishing areas in the Barents and Norwegian Seas. For us, MSC certification is not only a means to access new markets, but an opportunity to work in collaboration with stakeholders to improve the marine environment especially in the northern seas.”

Passing the sustainability test

Acoura Marine Limited, an accredited third-party conformity assessment body carried out the assessment of the fishery over 15 months.

Martin Gill, Managing Director Acoura Marine said: "ATF has worked hard to meet the standards required and it’s our hope that their success will encourage other fisheries to consider improving sustainability and exploring MSC certification. With consumer demand for the label continuing to grow rapidly, we believe ATF are very well placed to benefit from their commitment to sustainable fishing practices."

With a team of fishery science and policy experts, Acoura evaluated the fishery according to the three principles of the MSC Fisheries Standard: the health of the stock; the impact of fishing on the marine environment; and the management of the fishery. 

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