Iceland’s cod and haddock fisheries enter MSC assessment
The Icelandic Group, Iceland's largest seafood company, has entered all the nation's cod and haddock fisheries into assessment under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard. If successful, all landings by the Icelandic Group will be eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to MSC.
The fishery uses five different fishing gears to catch 160,000MT of cod and 82,000MT of haddock (2009). Fisheries outside of the Icelandic Group will be able to join the certificate at a later date if they choose in cooperation with Icelandic Group.
Cultural and economic importance
Cod is by far the most important species for Iceland's fishing sector - both culturally and economically. Around 16% of Iceland's cod catch is exported to the UK with a further 12% being exported to Spain. The export market for Icelandic haddock is dominated by the UK which takes about 65% of the catch.
MSC part of continued investment
Ingvar Eyfjore, deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Icelandic Group says: "MSC certification assessment is part of Icelandic Group's continued investment in the Iceland fisheries. Being responsible for purchasing and marketing 35% of Iceland's total fish quota, we are delighted in taking a leading role in this project. MSC certification, in our mind, will confirm what a robust and responsible fisheries management system we have in Iceland, and create open access to world markets that will deliver fair opportunities and choice for all Iceland's Fishermen. The MSC's blue ecolabel will provide our customers with an obvious, universally identifiable way to recognise the best environmental choice in seafood."
Huge historical significance
Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the MSC says: "Icelandic Group's decision to enter all cod and haddock fisheries in Iceland into MSC assessment is of huge historical significance and will have an impact on everyone involved in the catching, processing and sale of Iceland's whitefish. Icelandic Group is a leading seafood company on the European and American markets and their pioneering commitment to the MSC process will have a great impact in the markets that they supply. I know that retailers and restaurant suppliers across the region will watch this assessment with great interest and eagerly await its conclusion.
Iceland's cod and haddock fishers have a long and proud history and I look forward to a lasting and constructive relationship between them and the MSC."
About Icelandic Group
Building on over seventy years of expertise in the Icelandic fisheries, Icelandic Group is today one of the 5 largest seafood companies in Europe and one of the 10 largest worldwide. Icelandic Group is uniquely positioned in the seafood sector with its international network of production and marketing companies in Europe, N-America and Asia. Offering a wide variety of fresh, chilled and frozen seafood products and services on a global scale, Icelandic Group is a major supplier to many of the top supermarket groups in Europe. The Group employs approximately 3,900 people worldwide and has an annual turnover in excess of Euro 1 billion.