Iceland to access more MSC certified species

17 Oct 2017
MSC Iceland

Plaice, tusk, ocean catfish (wolf fish) and blue ling have been added to the list of Iceland's MSC certified fisheries

Iceland Sustainable Fisheries has added to its growing portfolio of world firsts with MSC certified tusk, ocean catfish (wolf fish) and blue ling fisheries.

It has also added Iceland’s first MSC certified plaice fishery, significantly improving the supply of MSC certified plaice to the UK.

“This is great news. Iceland has already contributed some beautiful MSC certified fish to our menus and the arrival of tusk and wolf fish will be of particular interest,” said Gisli Gislason, MSC Senior programme manager in Iceland.

The new fisheries were added through the MSC ‘P2-P1’ expedited audit process where fish that are caught as secondary catches (such as in a mixed fishery) can be MSC certified following a detailed stock assessment. The environmental impact and management assessments have already been completed in earlier certifications. Over the past few years, ISF has grown its portfolio of MSC certified sustainable species with Icelandic now offering one of the most diverse ranges of MSC certified sustainable species in the world.

“It is important to us to be recognised as a sustainable fishing nation. We would really like for consumers to know that if dinner is Icelandic fish, it comes for a sustainable source. The expedited audit is an excellent option to extend the scope of existing certificates. The scope is extended to cover species who are caught and retained anyway,” said ISF project manager Kristinn Hjálmarsson.

“The four species included in this assessment and certification have a relatively low annual landing quantity, compared to other ISF certified fisheries. So, it had a really cost-effective rationale to extend scope, rather than apply for a full separate assessment of each specie. Since we want all our fisheries to MSC certified, as possible, the expedited audit makes good economic sense when applying for certification of low quantity species.”

“ISF is becoming one of the larger fishery clients within the MSC program and has been a pioneer with 6 new species certified,” Gisli Gislason added.

“These include golden redfish, capelin, ling, tusk, blue ling and lumpfish. Anglerfish are in full assessment and upon completion we hope it will be the 7th world first by ISF.”

He commented that the setup by ISF with open membership access, has proven to work well: each member pays a monthly fee to the organisation and product from the certified fishery first becomes MSC eligible in the market when sold or traded via one of the ISF members.

“The ISF fishery certification against the MSC fishery standard has also confirmed that overall the Icelandic fishery management is one of the best in the world,” he said.