MSC suspends Faroese herring certification

The Faroese Pelagic Organisation’s (FPO) MSC certificate for Atlanto-Scandian herring has been suspended.

Certifier Det Norske Veritas (DNV) has concluded that the Faroese allocation of an independent quota for Atlanto-Scandian herring three times larger than last year’s quota meant that the fishery is now operating under a ‘controversial, unilateral exemption from an international agreement.’

As such, the fishery is no longer within the scope to be certified under the MSC Standard, and Faroese Atlanto-Scandian herring are no longer eligible to bear the MSC label. 

The FPO now has 90 days to create a plan to address the issue. If the fishery submits a plan within the time limit, its certificate will remain suspended while the plan is implemented and the issue resolved. If the FPO is unable to submit a satisfactory plan to ensure effective and sustainable management of the fishery within 90 days, DNV will withdraw the fishery certificate.

At present, the suspension has no effect on other MSC certified Atlanto-Scandian herring fisheries.

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “The fact that an independent body deems the actions of the Faroese as being unsustainable and irresponsible should in itself send a clear message that their move to massively increase their herring quota has no rational justification whatsoever, and that such behaviour will not be tolerated by the responsible international fishing community. The market should heed this decision and only source Atlantic herring from those countries involved in sustainable fishing practices and boycott Faroese herring.”

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