First Icelandic fisheries achieve MSC certification
The Icelandic exporting company Sæmark's cod and haddock fisheries have been awarded Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification following independent assessment against the MSC standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. These are the first fisheries in Iceland to achieve MSC certification and cod and haddock caught by the Sæmark fishing fleet will be the first Icelandic cod and haddock, eligible to carry the internationally recognised, blue MSC ecolabel, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to MSC.
The Sæmark fleet catches cod and haddock year-round using long-lines, handlines, and Danish seines mainly off the west and north-west coasts of Iceland. The MSC certificate includes 22 boats supplying four fish-processing companies associated with Sæmark Seafood Ltd. Once landed, MSC-certified fresh and frozen cod and haddock will be exported to its main markets in the USA, UK, and continental Europe. Salted fish is exported to Spain, Italy and Greece.
Fishing is one of Iceland's most important industries. It provides 40 per cent of export income and employs 7 per cent of the workforce. Cod and haddock have been caught in Icelandic waters for centuries and are considered the most important species by the Icelandic fishing industry - both culturally and economically.
Svavar Þór Guðmundsson, Managing Director of Sæmark Seafoods Ltd, was presented with the MSC certificate on behalf of Sæmark and its partners during an event in Reykavik yesterday. He says, "There is increasing market demand for MSC certified seafood and we are looking forward to meeting that demand. We believe the MSC certification of our cod and haddock fisheries will support Sæmark's existing business in key markets like the UK and the USA as well as increase our sales in new markets. In addition, obtaining MSC certification will enable us to communicate our commitment to sustainability, which is vital in today's seafood business."
"This certification represents an historic step both for the MSC and the Icelandic fishing industry", says Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council. "Both cod and haddock have been of great economic value throughout Iceland's proud fishing history and Sæmark's pioneering efforts have resulted in independent recognition of the long-term sustainability of its cod and haddock fisheries. I firmly believe that Sæmark's MSC certification will give them an edge in a global market, which, more and more, demands independent assurance of sustainability. Iceland is one of the world's great fishing nations and I look forward to a long and productive partnership with its fishing community".