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Danish Mussel Industry Secures MSC Certification

Marketing Food safety & handling +2 more

DENMARK - Mussels caught in Denmarks Limfjord by Vilsund Muslinge Industri (VMI) will be the first mussels in the world to carry the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) ecolabel, following VMIs success in attaining MSC certification as a sustainable and well-managed fishery.

VMI currently catches approximately 30,000 metric tons of mussels annually. Twenty seven fishing vessels land their catch at the VMI A/S factories in Nykøbing Mors and Aggersund, which have also been assessed and certified for traceability.

The mussels are sold ready-shelled, cooked and frozen, or as whole live mussels to markets all over Europe.

Søren T. Mattesen, managing director of Vilsund Muslinge Industri said: ‘Mussel fisheries have been successfully operating in the Limfjord for over a century. If we want mussel fishing to continue to provide a living for fishers and processors for the next century and beyond, we have to make sustainability our highest priority. The MSC certificate demonstrates that we have successfully done that, and recognises the efforts made by VMI fishers to preserve stocks of blue mussels in the Limfjord.’

‘The MSC certification shows that our blue mussel fishing is carried out in a way that does not lead to overfishing. The certification is, equally, assurance that the fishing preserves the ecosystem and does not impact on the feed for other species,’ added Mr Mattesen. Business Advantage.

‘I am particularly proud that we can assure our commercial partners and consumers that, when they buy VMI mussels bearing the MSC ecolabel, they are choosing a sustainably-sourced product.’

‘At a time when the Danish mussel industry faces heavy competition from inexpensive imported mussels from Chile, MSC certification will improve sales of our mussels to conscientious consumers in all markets where we operate’, Mr Mattesen said.

The company has been working towards MSC certification for more than two years. A team of independent experts assembled by the certification body Moody Marine has assessed the comprehensive documentation submitted by the company. The report on the fishery was submitted to public review by all interested parties. An initial objection was lodged with Moody Marine by the Danish Society for Nature Conservation in September 2009 but was withdrawn in December.

Camiel Derichs, MSC Manager Northern Europe for MSC explained: "An increasing number of Danish fisheries are engaged in the MSC programme. This is evidence of Danish fisheries’ commitment to demonstrating their sustainability through independent, science-based, third party assessment against MSC standards. An assessment against MSC standards is a significant exercise, taking over a year, and Danish scientific and management authorities, as well as Vilsund, have all contributed to this assessment process. The assessment clearly demonstrated that the mussel stock in the Limfjord is large and carefully managed.

"The ecosystem impact of this fishery in the Limfjord was judged by an independent review of scientific reports to be tolerable. Vilsund has signed up to conditions for the certification which require them to further research the impacts of the fishery on the Limfjord habitats. Compliance with conditions will be audited every year. I want to congratulate Vilsund for being the first mussel fishery in the world to obtain MSC certification, and I will be on the lookout for the first fresh MSC certified mussels on the retail shelves in the months to come!"