Canada Sea Scallops, Ireland Mackerel Undergoing MSC Assessment


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
August 5, 2008

The Eastern Canada offshore sea scallop fishery and Ireland's North East Atlantic mackerel fishery are now engaged in the Marine Stewardship Council full assessment process.

Extending from Georges Bank to the Eastern Scotian Shelf and St. Pierre, the fishery, which uses New Bedford scallop rake fishing gear, has averaged 6,645 metric tons annually over the past six years and is valued at about $116.4 million.

In the full assessment process, the sea scallop fishery, its impact on the ecosystem and the effectiveness of its management system will be carefully evaluated. If certified as well managed and sustainable, the product can display the MSC eco-label.

The assessment, expected to take 12 to 14 months, is being conducted by independent certifier Moody Marine Ltd.

The clients are Adams & Knickle Ltd., Clearwater Seafoods Ltd. Partnership, Comeau's Sea Foods Ltd., LaHave Seafoods Ltd. and Ocean Choice International LP.

"At the same time that Canadian retailers are increasing their commitment to certified-sustainable seafood, Canadian fisheries are showing the same enthusiasm for MSC certification," says Brad Ack, regional director for MSC Americas. "We are pleased that the Eastern Canadian offshore sea scallops fishery has chosen to measure its sustainability against the MSC standard by pursuing MSC certification, a system that assures consumers of a fishery's sustainability."

The North East Atlantic mackerel fishery is the first Irish fishery to enter the MSC full assessment process.

Managed by Irish Pelagic RSW (refrigerated seawater) and Processors Sustainability Group, the harvest occurs in the North Sea and comprises 23 Irish-owned and -operated RSW pelagic mid-water trawl vessels, all of which belong to either Killybegs Fishermen's Organization or Irish Fish Producers Organization.

If successful, 86 percent of the 49,643-metric-ton mackerel quota can carry the MSC eco-label. The majority of the catch is exported to the European Union, Russia, Japan, Egypt and West Africa.

The assessment is being conducted by independent certifier Food Certification International.

More than 120 fisheries are engaged in the London-based MSC program--31 are certified, 73 are under assessment and another 20 to 30 are in confidential pre-assessment. Collectively, the fisheries produce more than 5 million metrics tons of seafood. Worldwide, more than 1,600 seafood products bear the MSC eco-label.

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