First Chinese fishery enters MSC assessment
The Zhangzidao scallop fishery has become the first Chinese fishery to enter full assessment for Marine Stewardship Council sustainability certification.
Located in the Yellow Sea, the fishery is managed by Dalian Zhangzidao Fishery Group. It uses diving and dredging methods to produce 60,000 metric tons of yesso scallops annually, with fresh products sold predominantly in the domestic market and also in Korea. Frozen products are sold in North America and Australia.
The MSC assessment will cover the fishery’s year-round dive and dredge harvesting operations, as well as their wild spat collection and reared spat operations. The assessment is being conducted by independent certifier Moody Marine and is expected to be complete by 2012.
“Unsustainable fishing practices are undoubtedly having detrimental effects on the marine environment, and increasingly this is in the minds of consumers and buyers of seafood looking for a sustainable option,” said Wu Hou Gang, Dalian Zhangzidao Fishery Group’s chairman. “As such, the sustainability of our fishing operations is a core concern for the Dalian Zhangzidao Fishery Group, and we currently have management measures in place in our fisheries to help protect the marine environment. Our dive harvesting methods have very little impact on the surrounding ecosystem, and we regularly upgrade our dredging equipment to minimise the impact on the benthic environment.
“We see MSC certification as an integral part of proving the sustainability of our fishing operations, as it is widely considered the world’s most rigorous and scientifically-based certification scheme for wild-caught and enhanced fisheries,“ he added. “Increasingly markets around the world are seeking MSC certified seafood and, if we are successful in gaining certification, we see the MSC ecolabel enhancing our brand, and opening up new markets.”
“The MSC is excited about having the first Chinese fishery enter the MSC assessment process. As the world’s largest producer and consumer of seafood products, Chinese fisheries have a key role to play in the development of a sustainable global seafood industry. China has seen a dramatic increase in per capita seafood consumption in recent years and the leadership shown by the Zhangzidao scallop fishery in trying to demonstrate its sustainability credentials to the world should be applauded,” said Patrick Calco, MSC manager ANZ.