Clam and Cockle Fishery Goes for World's First Double Certification

30 August 2016, at 1:00am

UK - Poole Harbour fishermen are aiming for a world-first after starting assessments for both Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainable fishing certification and the Seafish Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS) at the same time.

Poole Harbour Fishermen Aim for Double Certification double-whammy

The fishermen, who catch clams and cockles are aiming for certification for environmental sustainability of the fishery (MSC certification) and responsible operations on board fishing vessels (RFS certification).

While double certifications are common in other foods – for example Fairtrade organic coffee – this is a first in seafood. The MSC and RFS certifications are mutually complementary. By working towards both certifications, the fishermen can demonstrate that they comply with both environmental sustainability credentials and high standards of crew welfare and responsible catching practices.

The Poole & District Fisherman’s Association (PDFA) will enter the clam and cockle fishery in Poole Harbour into MSC assessment with the aim of independently certifying it against standards for sustainability and good management.

At the same time, the skippers and their vessels involved in the fishery will be entered into the Responsible Fishing Scheme, run by Seafish, which will enable skippers to demonstrate that they comply with industry best practice and are committed to responsible sourcing of sustainable fisheries products.

Chloe North, UK Fisheries Officer, MSC, said: “I am very pleased to see the Poole Harbour clam and cockle fishery go for this world-first. Their dedication to providing global best practice in sustainably sourcing their fish in a responsible way is an inspiration. Hopefully this will pave the way for others to follow their pioneering lead.”

Michael Bacon, RFS Fleet manager, Seafish, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate how the certification schemes complement each other, allowing a fishery to assure buyers their catch is sustainably caught and responsibly harvested, and the Seafish RFS team are delighted to be part of this historic first.”

Robert Clark, Chief Officer of Southern IFCA, said: “The clam and cockle fishery in Poole is very important to the local community and is a vibrant fishery. We’re really proud to be working in collaboration with the Poole and District Fisherman’s Association on a double certification of the fishery using international standards. This world-first provides an ideal opportunity to recognise and celebrate the fishery and demonstrate that it meet the highest standards.”