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The Celtic Sea herring fishery has earned Marine Stewardship Council certification, the London-based organization announced on Tuesday.

After an 11-month assessment, 90 percent of Ireland’s Celtic Sea herring catch is now eligible to carry to MSC eco-label. Herring is one of the most popular MSC certified species with nearly 1,000 MSC certified herring products sold in Germany alone.

Herring school in single species groups in mid-water, meaning low bycatch and minimal contact between fishing gear and the seabed. The assessment concluded that the establishment of the Celtic Sea Herring Management Advisory Committee (CSHMAC), a national multi-stakeholder initiative, and its partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, resulted in a management approach that “led to direct improvements” in the herring stock.

“After many years of committed work by the CSHMAC the stock has recovered well and the fishery is now operating at a sustainable level. This situation could not have been achieved without the full support of all the stakeholders involved in the fishery,” said Gavin Power, CSHMAC chairman. “Sacrifices have been made along the way but, underpinned by sound scientific advice and support, our management approach has been well received at departmental level and has yielded tangible results. What is important now is that the award of MSC certification will deliver a renewed focus on future improvements in management and responsibility, aimed at ensuring a profitable and sustainable fishery for many years to come.”

The fishery was independently certified by Food Certification International.

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