Iceland to certify own fisheries
The Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture will unveil a program to certify the nation's fisheries as sustainable at next week's International Boston Seafood Show.
A press conference announcing the program's details will take place at 10 a.m. Monday, 16 March in Room 204B of the Boston Conference & Exhibition Center.
It will be hosted by the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, the Trade Council of Iceland, the Icelandic Embassy in Washington, D.C., the Fisheries Association of Iceland and seafood company Icelandic USA.
Speaking at the conference are Hjalmar Hannesson, Iceland's U.S. ambassador; Dr. Sigurgeir Thorgeirsson, permanent secretary of the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture; Dr. Kristján Thórarinsson, vice chair of the Fisheries Association of Iceland; and Dr. Jóhann Sigurjónsson, director general of the Icelandic Marine Research Institute.
To date, Icelandic fisheries have been hesitant to participate in international certification programs, such as the Marine Stewardship Council's, even though the country is one of the world's largest seafood producers, with annual seafood exports reaching about USD 2 billion (EUR 1.6 billion). Icelandic seafood landings totaled nearly 1.4 million metric tons in 2007. Cod, haddock, saithe and redfish are among the country's main seafood catches.
More than 100 fisheries are engaged in the London-based MSC program, and more than 2,000 seafood products worldwide carry the MSC eco-label.
Icelandic USA in May 2007 attained MSC chain-of-custody certification to sell a variety of MSC-certified seafood products, including Alaska pollock, Alaska salmon, New Zealand hoki, Pacific cod and Pacific halibut.