SCOTLAND, UK - The impressive partnership approach of multi-national fisheries working together in a bid to deliver Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for north-east Atlantic mackerel underlines the commitment of northern European pelagic fishermen to sustainable fishing.
This is the view of Ian Gatt, secretary of the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group and coordinator for the Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance (MINSA), which is coordinating the programme for MSC reassessment of north-east Atlantic mackerel. Over 700 mackerel fishing vessels from Scotland, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden, have joined together under the MINSA umbrella to enter MSC reassessment – the largest ever international collaborative approach for such certification this side of the Atlantic.
MSC certificates were suspended in 2012 because of the quota dispute with Iceland and the Faroes. But with the new situation where three major partners in the fishery – the EU, Norway and Faroe Islands have agreed an international management framework - MINSA believes the time is now right for MSC reassessment.
Ian Gatt said: “This is truly an unprecedented partnership approach and is a strong demonstration of the commitment of northern European pelagic fishermen to sustainable fishing and the responsible long-term management of the fishery.
“The mackerel stock is in good shape and gaining the MSC eco-label will confirm to consumers the sustainable nature of the fishery, which in turn will benefit fishermen and seafood processors throughout northern Europe.
“We firmly believe that mackerel should be a staple item in shopping baskets – it is after all an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, and is particularly rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are so important for heart health. The Food Standards Agency says we should all aim to eat two portions of fish per week, including a portion of oily fish such as mackerel.”
Food Certification International (FCI) will undertake the reassessment on behalf of the MINSA group, a company with a wealth of experience in pelagic fishery assessments.
Ian Gatt added: “MINSA is delighted to appoint FCI to take forward the assessment of our most valuable fish stock. The Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group already work with the company so it’s particularly pleasing the MINSA group has chosen FCI, which is Scottish based and has a strong reputational brand in this field of expertise.”
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