Finland’s first fishery to be tested by MSC

Published on
February 3, 2017

The Baltic herring and sprat fishery, which accounts for more than 90 percent of Finland’s marine catch, has been entered into Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) assessment by the Finnish Fishermen’s Association. It is the first fishery in Finland to undergo MSC assessment.

Acoura Marine will conduct the MSC Fisheries Standard assessment over the next 12 to 18 months, and the group is inviting those with information about the Finnish fishery’s sustainability to participate in the process.

Utilizing trawls and traps, the fishery targets herring and sprat in ICES subdivisions 25 through 32 (excluding the Gulf of Riga). Back in 2015, the fishery procured 132,000 metric tons of herring and 12,000 metric tons of sprat. Both species play a large role in the fishmeal and fish oil industry, and are also staples in local consumption and in dietary supplements.

“Some 20 percent of annual global wild seafood production is for fish meal and oil production,” said Janne Posti, MSC’s Project Manager. “The majority of these ingredients end up in animal feeds, with an increasing proportion of the fish oil used for supplements and nutraceuticals. It is critical that low trophic level species, such as herring and sprat, are managed sustainably. We welcome the Finnish Fishermen’s Association’s decision to put Baltic herring and sprat forward for MSC assessment.”

The assessment of the fishery, and responsible fisheries in general, factor into the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Roadmap to Bioeconomy for 2020. “The roadmap recognizes the potential of responsible seafood production as an engine of sustainable growth,” explained MSC, and it acknowledges the importance of independent certification. The project and roadmap are in accordance with the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Finnish action plan.

"Baltic herring and sprat are extremely important species for the Finnish fisheries sector and we are very happy that the first Finnish fishery is entering MSC assessment. We recognize the importance of sustainable fishing and ensuring that this resource is available for future generations. We have also noticed that the fish oil and fishmeal industry in particular is increasingly demanding certified and sustainably sourced raw materials," Finnish Fishermen’s Association CEO Kim Jordas said.

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