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The Swedish Pelagic Producers Organization (SPPO) North East Atlantic mackerel fishery has earned Marine Stewardship Council certification, making around 4,000 metric tons of mackerel eligible to carry the MSC eco-label. There are now nine mackerel fisheries in the northeast Atlantic that have earned the distinction.

The fishery comprises 23 pair pelagic trawlers and three purse-seine vessels. All trawls are rigged for full pelagic use, meaning that they don’t skim the seabed as semi-pelagic trawls can. But instead all efforts are made to avoid bottom contact to reduce any risks of the fishing gear damaging the bottom.

The fishery operates from September to December with the products sold primarily to the Danish, Norwegian and UK markets. In 2009, the total catch was 4,438 metric tons, up from 3,524 metric tons in 2008.

“Our vision is to have all our fisheries MSC-certified. Mackerel is very important economically for us, despite the low quotas; we are making the most of the demand for certified mackerel. With this certification we are also able to show the world that we take responsibility for the fish stocks and for the environment. The MSC eco-label is a testament to this,” said Björn Lindblad of SPPO.

There are now 130 MSC-certified fisheries worldwide, with an additional 131 fisheries in full assessment and 40 to 50 fisheries in confidential pre-assessement, according to the London-based program. 

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