Mussel fishery earns MSC certification
Seafood Shetland and the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group Limited (SSMG) have achieved Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for the Shetland and Scottish Mainland rope grown mussel enhanced fishery.
The fishery produces blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) grown on static ropes suspended in the clear waters around Shetland and the Scottish coast.
Subject to Chain of Custody traceability, all Shetland mussels and those produced on the Scottish mainland by members of SSMG Ltd are now eligible to display the MSC ecolabel on the certified product, which should further strengthen the product’s position, and open up new markets, both in the UK and overseas.
The partnership arrangement between the two parties was a logical move given that much of Shetland’s mussel tonnage is sold through SSMG Ltd.
Several key strengths have been highlighted from the assessment, acknowledging the low impact of the fishery on the ecosystem and the existence of robust governance and policy.
Responding to the announcement, chief executive of Seafood Shetland, Ruth Henderson said: “We are delighted by this significant development for the industry, which is worth £5.3 million to the local economy. Our mussel farming industry has been built on its outstanding reputation for product quality, with 4,567t produced in 2011, representing 65% of Scottish production.
“It is vital that we can support this message of quality with the fact that, while we continue to grow, we are doing so in a way that respects the Marine Stewardship Council’s Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fisheries.