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Icelandic Fisheries Enter MSC Assessment

ICELAND - The Icelandic exporting business Smark has entered its cod, haddock and wolffish fisheries for full assessment under the Marine Stewardship Councils (MSC) [1] certification programme.

These fisheries will be the first in Iceland to be assessed against the MSC standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries, and the first wolffish fishery in the MSC programme. If the fisheries are successful, their seafood products will be eligible to carry the blue MSC ecolabel.

The assessment will include six units of certification made up of 23 vessels supplying Sæmark’s partners: Fiskvinnslan Íslandssaga hf., Hraðfrystihús Hellissands hf., Oddi hf., Þórsberg ehf. - four fish processing companies associated with Sæmark Seafood Ltd. in the MSC full assessment.

The Icelandic TAC allocation for 2009-2010 was set at 150,000 MT for cod, 63,000MT for haddock and 12,000MT for wolffish. The fisheries under assessment catch 6,200 MT of Atlantic cod, 3,300 MT haddock, and 1,100MT of wolffish using long line, handline and Danish seine. The fishing fleet runs year-round mainly off the west and north-west coasts of Iceland. Sæmark’s main markets are the USA, the UK, and continental Europe for fresh and frozen fish and Spain, Italy and Greece for salted fish.

There is increasing market demand for MSC certification," says Svavar Guðmundsson, Managing Director of Sæmark Seafoods, “Sæmark is applying for MSC certification to meet that demand. We believe it will support Sæmark’s existing business in key markets like the UK and the USA as well as increase our sales in new markets.

"There are four producers covered by Sæmark’s application, which all are key employers for their local communities. Obtaining MSC certification would enable Sæmark to communicate better about sustainability, from the source to the consumer, which is vital in today's seafood business. Because of all this,“ Mr Guðmundsson says, “we are delighted that we have signed an assessment contract with the Icelandic certification body Tún.”

the Fish Site Editor

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