Pescafria Barents Sea cod fishery enters MSC assessment

January 12, 2011 14:13

The Pescafria-Pesquera Rodriguez Barents Sea cod (Gadus morhua) fishery has today entered formal assessment against the Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. If the fishery succeeds in securing certification, products sourced from the fishery will be eligible to carry the blue MSC ecolabel, reports with reference to MSC.

Pescafria-Pesquera Rodriguez is a family-run company, founded in 1940 and based in the Basque Country and Galicia. The company holds 27.50% of the Spanish quota for cod in the Barents Sea which equates to 3,700 tonnes in the most recent year and which is the largest  quota at national level.  The main market for the fishery at present is the United Kingdom and the main product is frozen cod fillets; a small proportion is sold to the Spanish market as salted cod and cod roe.

The MSC runs the world's leading environmental certification programme for wild capture fisheries. The assessment of the Spanish cod fishery will be carried out by an independent, expert team. The team will assess the fishery against the three Principles of the MSC environmental standard and examine the health of the target stock (the Northeast Arctic cod stock); the impact of the fishery on the wider marine ecosystem; and the effectiveness of the fishery's management in securing the long-term sustainability of the stock and minimising impacts on the ecosystem.
What Pescafria says

Francisco Rodriguez, manager of Pescafria, became aware of the MSC program and ecolabel following the certification of the Alaska pollock fisheries.  He says: "Helping consumers choose sustainable seafood is essential. MSC certification is a way for us to differentiate ourselves from our competitors in the seafood market, and let our customers know that the product they are buying comes from a sustainable and well-managed fishery".

"At present, demand for certified seafood is still developing in southern Europe, and hasn't yet reached the same levels as we see in northern Europe; but I'm confident that there is great potential for growth in the Spanish market, particularly if retailers play their part in increasing consumer awareness through their own marketing".
What the MSC says

Nicolas Guichoux, MSC Regional Director says: "A new cod fishery entering the MSC program opens up further opportunities for meeting the increasing demand for certified sustainable seafood from European markets. I welcome the decision by the Pescafria fishery to seek certification and I am sure their experience will be a useful benchmark for other Spanish fisheries operating in the same area".

Laura Rodriguez, MSC Country Manager for Spain and Portugal, says: "This is a natural step for a fishery in which the philosophy of sustainability is a key component. Pescafria is the first Spanish cod fishery entering MSC assessment and I am sure the decision of Pescafria will motivate other fisheries to enter the MSC program, not only for export markets but also to meet the increasing Spanish demand for sustainable products".

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