Grand Banks flounder nets MSC eco-label


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
October 28, 2010

Ocean Choice International’s (OCI) Grand Banks yellowtail flounder fishery on Thursday was certified as sustainable and well-managed under the Marine Stewardship Council program.

It’s Canada’s 11th fishery and the world’s 96th fishery to receive MSC certification. It’s also the Grand Banks’ first finfish harvest to earn the distinction.

The demersal trawl fishery for yellowtail flounder (Limanda ferruginea) occurs in North Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) areas 3L, 3N and 3O on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland. Stock assessments and management objectives for the fishery are established by NAFO, and the fishery is regulated by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The NAFO-set quota totaled 17,000 metric tons this year, and the Canadian allocation is 97.5 percent. St. John’s, Newfoundland-based OCI holds the largest share of Canada’s quota at 91.4 percent. The remaining 8.6 percent is held by five other companies. OCI said that it’s prepared to facilitate a certificate-sharing arrangement if the other companies are interested.

The fish is exported worldwide in various forms, including fresh and frozen fillets in U.S. and Canadian markets, skin-on fresh and frozen fillets in the European market and karimi in the Japanese market.

“We are delighted to add yellowtail flounder to our growing portfolio of MSC-certified fisheries, joining northern shrimp and North Atlantic sea scallops,” said OCI COO Blaine Sullivan. “It is important for OCI to take the lead in being responsible stewards of our oceans and marine environment. MSC certification for this fishery, in particular, which we harvest with our own fleet and for which we control such a significant percentage of the quota, clearly demonstrates our commitment to the future of our fishery.”

Earlier this week, the South Georgia icefish fishery became the world’s 95th fishery to obtain MSC certification, as the London-based nonprofit program closes in on the century mark.

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