First Irish fishery receives MSC certification

 The Marine Stewardship Council on Friday announced that the northeast Atlantic refrigerated sea water (RSW) mackerel fishery has received its sustainability certification.

Managed by the Irish Pelagic Sustainability Group (IPSG), the harvest is the first Irish fishery and the 53rd worldwide to earn MSC certification.

The pelagic mid-water trawl fishery comprises 22 vessels and produces 87 percent of Ireland's total mackerel quota of 66,070 metric tons. Most of the landings are processed locally before being frozen and exported to Japan, Russia, eastern Europe and sub-Sahara Africa, or to intermediate markets in western Europe and Southeast Asia.

Food Certification International conducted the independent assessment of the fishery.

"We have worked very hard to promote sustainable fishing practices in Ireland because we believe this is in the best interest of the resource and the long term viability of our fishing fleet," said Sean O'Donoghue, IPSG member and CEO of Killybegs Fishermen's Organization.

"We very much hope MSC certification will create new market opportunities all over the world as demand for MSC-certified and -labeled product continues to grow," he added. "It is critical to us that fish stocks remain sustainable into the future. Today's announcement represents a significant milestone for the Irish fishing community. The RSW mackerel fishery is very important to the local processors who provide much needed jobs for the community."

More than 150 fisheries are currently engaged in the London-based program, with 52 fisheries certified, more than 100 in full assessment and 40 to 50 in confidential pre-assessment. Collectively, MSC-certified fisheries represent nearly 4 million metric tons of seafood, and more than 2,500 seafood products worldwide carry the MSC eco-label.

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