Environmental Labels Do Not Affect Norwegian Fishermen

Lucy Towers
24 June 2012, at 1:00am

There are many different eco-labels for both wild and farmed fish. But the requirements to use eco-labels for fish products have little impact on Norwegian fishermen.

Catch The pattern in Norwegian fisheries is largely controlled by the migration patterns of the fish. Fishing is operated during periods of the year in which fish are easily accessible - close to the coast and in large quantities. This adaptation means that the fishery is concentrated to certain areas at certain periods.

Ecolabelling of fish products have been widely used in many retail outlets and customers are in many cases aware that what they buy to be from sustainable fisheries. Requirements for certification vary among the different eco-labels, and Nofima have analyzed whether these will affect the Norwegian fishing pattern.

In the project, three eco-labels for wild caught fish considered - Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), KRAV and Friend of the Sea (FOS). These were the main eco-labels for Norwegian wild fish when the study was conducted in 2009.

Comparison of eco-labels

It is clear that the conditions imposed on the use of eco-labels are different. What is common is that all eco-labels require the fishery to be sustainable. Differences are related to, among other things, the type of products that are certified, and in which countries they are sold in. Another difference is that the duration of the certification process varies, for example. an MSC certification have a duration of 14 months and a FOS Certification 1 day.

This is reflected in the length of the reports from these processes. It may indicate that MSC spend more time on the certification process compared with KRAV and FOS.

Little significance

The demands placed on players to use the three investigated eco-labels have little or no importance for the Norwegian fishing pattern. An exception is the requirement for hunting area and season in certain fisheries, set by KRAV. REQUIREMENTS insist that many of the environmentally approved fisheries in parts of the year will take place outside the 12 nautical mil. The reason for this is the protection of coastal cod populations. In addition, CLAIMS guidelines for a winter fishing for cod. This is problematic as most of the cod taken in the winter. However, there may be a problem for those who want to shift part of the winter fishery at other times of year.

Authorized fishing gear

What fishing methods used have been an important topic in environmental organizations. There have been discussions about some tools are more stressful to the seabed than others and the extent to which certain tools leads to more capture of fish below the minimum. The study shows that no vehicle is excluded from the environmental approval from these assessments.

June 2012