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First Swedish Mussel Fishery Enters MSC Assessment

Sustainability Economics Politics +4 more

SWEDEN - A Swedish Shellfish Producer Organisation (SSPO) rope-grown blue mussel fishery began full assessment against the Marine Stewardship Councils (MSC) standard for well-managed and sustainable fisheries. If successful this will be the first mussel fishery in Sweden to achieve MSC certification.

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Swedish mussel farming began in the 1970s, but it was not until 1983 that production started to become significant. However, production levels have varied over the years. Declines in production observed in the late 1980s were attributed to the presence of toxic algal blooms. The Swedish Shellfish Growing Producer Organisation (SSPO), was formed five years ago with the aim of developing the mussel industry in Sweden.

The SSPO Swedish west coast rope grown mussel fishery takes place in Skagerrak and Kattegat. The mussels are harvested all year around. Catches vary, ranging in recent years from 1477 tonnes up to 2430 tonnes. The blue mussel is mainly sold fresh to domestic markets, but also to continental Europe.

We see MSC as a seal of approval of our sustainability. Now, as market demand for more certified seafood is on the increase, we of course want to ensure that our mussels are recognised as sustainable. We look forward to beginning the assessment and we hope we will succeed in proving that our fishery is sustainable and well-managed, says Bengt Gunnarsson, SSPO.

We are extremely pleased to see that the Swedish Shellfish Producer Organisation has decided to enter Swedish mussels into the programme. This decision demonstrates their commitment to sustainability as well as reflecting strong market demand. The cultivation of mussels has minimal impact on its immediate environment but the fishery will have to comply with all environmental legislation with regards to fishing in sensitive areas, says Minna Epps, Manager Baltic Sea Region.