Canada’s largest herring fishery scores MSC certificate

Canada’s largest herring fishery, operating out of the Bay of Fundy area, has achieved certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), signifying that it is both sustainable and well-managed.

The fishery in question, the Canada 4VWX purse-seine herring fishery, is the third of its kind in Canada to earn MSC’s approval. Now, all herring products originating from purse seine vessels and processed in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick can bear the MSC blue ecolabel, informing customers of the fishery’s compliance with the certification body’s global standard.

According to MSC, the 4VWX purse seine herring fishery was able to demonstrate compliance with the three principles structuring MSC’s standard: a healthy fish stock, protection of the surrounding marine ecosystem, and effective fishery management.

“We are proud of the work our fishery has undertaken together with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to maintain the health of this important Canadian resource” said Roger Stirling, president of the Seafood Producers Association of Nova Scotia, the client representative for the 4VWX herring fishery, in a news release. “As one of the longest-running commercial fisheries in Canada the herring fishery and associated processing companies have demonstrated the ability to sustain the resource. The MSC certification now allows us to clearly signal the fishery’s sustainability to global markets.”

Jay Lugar, program director for MSC in Canada, praised the fishery’s commitment and value to its surrounding social communities.

“We congratulate the Bay of Fundy purse seine herring industry on achieving MSC certification," Lugar said. "The fishery consistently generates employment in the local community while working diligently to protect herring stocks that also play an important role in the ecosystem as food for other fish and mammals. MSC is very pleased to see this long-standing industry take the sustainability message to global markets.”

By using purse seiners to acquire herring, the fishery is supporting low bycatch levels, said MSC. Annually, the 4VWX purse seine herring fishery hauls 50,000 metric tons of herring, which is a versatile fish sold in various formats including frozen fillets (Europe and North America), marinated and sauced canned products (Europe), smoked (kippers, in North America), canned (global), roe (Japan) and bait (Canada, for MSC certified lobster fisheries).

The assessment of the fishery was conducted by Acoura Marine, an accredited, third-party certification body.


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