Two Icelandic Fisheries Enter MSC Assessment

Lucy Towers
29 April 2013, at 1:00am

ICELAND - Iceland Sustainable Fisheries(ISF) entered two of Icelands important fisheries into assessment for MSC certification: the Iceland golden redfish fishery and Iceland saithe fishery. It is the first redfish fishery in the MSC programme.

The fisheries will be assessed against the MSC standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries, and, if successful, Icelandic golden redfish and saithe products will be eligible to carry the MSC ecolabel. The assessment will be carried out by independent certifier Vottunarstofan Tún ehf.

Golden redfish (Sebastes marinus) is fished year round but normally the fishing concentrates in the late winter and early spring. The main fishing grounds are at the edge of the continental shelf at 200 to 400 meters depth from southeast to northwest of Iceland. (FAO 27, mainly ICES Va, Iceland's exclusive economic zone (EEZ)). Golden redfish is primarily processed for export especially in frozen fillets, but also exported fresh chilled. The main markets for golden redfish are Germany, Japan, The Netherlands and China.

The saithe (Pollachius virens) fishery takes place year round with its catch peak during spring and autumn. Saithe, called Ufsi in Iceland, is mostly caught to the south and west of Iceland (FAO 27, ICES Va, Iceland EEZ). Saithe is primarily processed for export especially in frozen fillets. Some is also exported salted, dried and fresh. Main markets are Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Nigeria.

Gísli Gíslason, MSC Senior Fisheries Outreach Manager in Iceland says: "Iceland Sustainable Fisheries (ISF) was created to share the MSC certificate of the IGP cod and haddock as well as to apply for MSC certification for other species. There are now over 25 shareholders in ISF sharing this certificate. It is of great value that today ISF entered its first Icelandic fisheries into the MSC assessment process. It also means that ISF enters the first redfish fishery into the MSC programme . We warmly welcome this development and will closely follow further developments."

Gunnlaugur Eiríksson, Managing Directior of ISF says: “Iceland Sustainable Fisheries is very pleased that full assessment for Icelandic Saithe and Golden Redfish is in process, and hopefully both species will get MSC certification around end of 2013. This is the first redfish fishery to enter the MSC programme . We see this is an very important step for the Icelandic seafood industry to be able to introduce more species from Iceland with MSC certification. Iceland Sustainable Fisheries will continue to work on getting more species caught in Iceland waters certified with MSC certification for the benefit of Iceland caught fish. It is an important step for buyers of seafood from Iceland to know that fish from Iceland is sustainable and well managed.”