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Swedish Herring Fisheries Earn MSC Recertification

Sustainability Economics Politics +4 more

SWEDEN - The Swedish herring fishery in the North Sea has achieved its re-certification, and herring products from this fishery can continue to bear the MSC ecolabel. It is the second time that this group of Swedish fishing vessels has been awarded MSC certification, now under the collective group Swedish Pelagic Federation Producer Organisation (SPFPO).

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This fishery was the third herring fishery to be certified in 2008, other herring fisheries in the North Sea have followed since then and there are now fourteen North Sea herring fisheries that have been able to meet the MSC standard. The SPFPO herring fishery takes place mainly during the summer months in the North Sea and comprises 20 fishing vessels.

Fishing activities with low environmental impact

The members of SPFPO use pelagic trawl and purse seine gear types. Deep experience and knowledge of the fishery, combined with electronic equipment, makes it possible for the crew to be able to efficiently locate the right species, density and size. Pelagic fisheries for herring do not make contact with the seabed, thus reducing any likelihood of negative impacts on the seabed habitats. The by-catch is low – with a limited amount of mackerel that end up in the nets and reduced discards. This demonstrates the effectiveness and the low impact that this fishery has on the marine environment.

“It is important for us to be able to deliver MSC certified herring. We are actively working to get all our fishing activities certified. Our fishermen want to show the industry that they are fishing responsibly and also assure consumers that the catch is from sustainable fish stocks”, says Björn Lindblad, Swedish Pelagic Federation PO (SPFPO).

As one of the first Swedish fisheries to enter the programme, these fishermen have followed the MSC development both in Sweden and abroad.

”Today there is literally a requirement from the retailers that the fish they sell should be MSC certified. We must be able to demonstrate to the customer that we are fishing responsibly. And this assurance is provided by the MSC ecolabel, ” says Werner Larsson, CEO Astrid Fiskeexport.

Swedes are known to be environmentally aware. According to a study made by the Swedish SOM Institute last year, concern for the marine environment ranked in fifth place for the Swedes. As the recognition for the MSC ecolabel grows, consumers and retailers are embracing these fishermen’s work for sustainability, and actively searching out and choosing certified seafood.

“It is encouraging to see that SPFPO continue their work to maintain the high level of sustainability in order to meet the MSC standard. As herring is close to the hearts of Nordic consumers, it’s especially joyful to see that herring products from this fishery can continue to link shoppers with the fishermen creating a brighter future for our oceans”, says Minna Epps, Manager Baltic Sea region MSC.