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Fogo Island Shrimp Fishery Seeks Certification

CANADA - The Fogo Island cold water shrimp fishery (Pandalus borealis) has entered full assessment in the Marine Stewardship Councils (MSC) certification programme for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

The fishery operates within Canadian Shrimp Fishing Areas 5, 6 and 7 of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean – off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador from the Hopedale Channel to areas southeast of Newfoundland – and will be assessed by an independent certifier against the MSC standard for sustainable fishing. If successful, products from this fishery will be eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel.

Northern shrimp is a significant commercial species in the Northwest Atlantic and is caught by independent inshore fishing vessels using trawl gear. Fogo Island, the largest of Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore islands, sits in the heart of Shrimp Fishing Areas 5, 6 and 7 and supports historic traditional fishing settlements and culture.

The client for this assessment, the Fogo Island Co-operative Society Limited, seeks to hold its own MSC certificate for shrimp processed at its plant in the community of Seldom.

The Fogo Island Co-operative was part of a pre-existing MSC certificate for northern shrimp held in association with other Newfoundland and Labrador companies involved in the shrimp industry. If successful, the Fogo Island Co-operative has expressed its intention to share the MSC certificate with other interested shrimp operators in the area.

The fishery’s main products are shell-off cooked and peeled shrimp, with 90 per cent sold to markets in Europe and 10 per cent sold to the United States. This year through mid-September 2010 overall landings for all vessels fishing in Shrimp Fishing Areas 5, 6, and 7 totaled 58,131 metric tons.

Phil Barnes, speaking for the Fogo Island Co-operative says: “Fisheries have sustained Fogo Island and our independent way of life for generations. We are 100 per cent committed to MSC’s sustainability principles and to satisfying the responsible sourcing requirements of our most discerning cold water shrimp customers. We strongly believe MSC is now the global standard for assuring consumers that their seafood product choices come from well-managed, environmentally-friendly and sustainable fisheries. We also know the MSC ecolabel will help us tell the unique story of Fogo Island’s commitment to sustainable seafood harvesting practices to the world.”

"Shrimp is an important commodity in the global seafood marketplace and there is growing demand for shrimp products certified to the MSC standard," said Kerry Coughlin, the Americas regional director for the MSC. "We appreciate this fishery's commitment to sustainability and hope they will successfully complete their certification and be able to display the ecolabel on products from their fishery."

The client contracted with Global Trust Certification Ltd. to conduct the independent, third-party assessment, which is expected to take approximately 10 to 11 months. A team of scientific experts will be convened to evaluate the fishery based on the three Principles of the MSC standard: the sustainability of the fish stock, its impact on the environment, and the management system in place.

the Fish Site Editor

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