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Certification for Scottish Mussels

by the Fish Site Editor
24 June 2009, at 1:00am

UK - Scottish mussels produced by the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group are set to become the first rope-grown mussels in the world to achieve Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification as a sustainable and well managed resource.

And as part of an integrated programme of independent certification to fully meet the requirements of its customer base, Scottish Shellfish is also about to enter its mussel farms on the West coast and Shetland for the prestigious Friends of the Sea (FoS) certification.

This is the first time that a cultivated seafood product has entered into the MSC pre-assessment process, signalling the sustainability and environmental credentials of the mussels produced by Scottish Shellfish, which has a processing facility in Bellshill, Lanarkshire.

The FoS standard already caters for aquaculture producers, with rope grown mussels from Galicia in Spain and Tasmania currently holding certification.

Mussels were given the green-light for assessment by MSC and FoS because of the unique cultivation techniques used, where the larvae or spat naturally settle on ropes suspended from buoys. They then mature into full-grown mussels by naturally feeding on marine plankton. It is expected that the assessment process for both standards will begin within the next few weeks.

Stephen Cameron, managing director of Scottish Shellfish, said: “We are delighted that both the MSC and FoS have accepted our application to begin the certification process for Scottish rope grown mussels, which will confirm their status of being a sustainable and well managed natural resource.

“Our diverse customer base has different requirements when it comes to certification, and this is why we decided to apply for both standards.

“We believe that achieving such certification will highlight the commitment of Scottish Shellfish to sustainability and the environment, enabling consumers to make informed choices when purchasing mussels.”

Scottish Shellfish supplies fresh and value-added mussels to multiple and independent retailers, and the foodservice sector. Mussel farms in the group represent about 70 per cent of total Scottish production. The bulk of its output is for the UK, although it also supplies small quantities for the export market.

Michael Laurenson, Shetland mussel farmer and chairman of Scottish Shellfish, said: “This is tremendous news for our member farms. The popularity of mussels has really grown in recent years and we believe that independent certification will help us immensely as we continue to develop the market.”

the Fish Site Editor