Icelandic Group cod, haddock seek MSC eco-label


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
October 25, 2010

Icelandic Group, Iceland’s largest seafood company, on Tuesday entered all of the country’s cod and haddock fisheries into Marine Stewardship Council assessment.

If successful, all of Icelandic Group’s landings will be eligible to bear the MSC eco-label.

According to the MSC, the fishery uses five different types of fishing gear to catch 160,000 metric tons of cod and 82,000 metric tons of haddock. Fisheries outside of Icelandic Group will be able to join the certification at a later date if they so choose, in cooperation with the company.

In April, Sæmark became the first Icelandic seafood company to pursue MSC certification, serving as the client to 23 vessels that encompass 6,200 metric tons of Atlantic cod and 3,300 metric tons of haddock harvested by longline, handline and Danish seine. Wolffish is also part of the assessment.

Culturally and economically, cod is the most important species for Iceland’s fishing industry. Around 16 percent of Iceland’s cod catch is exported to the United Kingdom, with another 12 percent exported to Spain. The export market for Iceland haddock is dominated by the UK, which consumes about 65 percent of the catch.

“MSC certification assessment is part of Icelandic Group’s continued investment in Iceland’s fisheries. Being responsible for purchasing and marketing 35 percent of Iceland’s total fish quota, we are delighted in taking a leading role in this project,” said Ingvar Eyfjörð, Icelandic’s deputy CEO.

“MSC certification, in our mind, will confirm what a robust and responsible fisheries management system we have in Iceland and create open access to world markets that will deliver fair opportunities and choice for all of Iceland’s fishermen,” added Eyfjörð.

In the past, Iceland has been hesitant to get involved in the MSC’s seafood-certification program. At last year’s International Boston Seafood Show, the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture and Fisheries Association of Iceland unveiled the details of a program to certify its own fisheries as sustainable.

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