Lloyd’s Register terminates Zoneco relationship, ending MSC certification for company’s scallop fishery

Lloyd’s Register Business Assurance and Inspection Services has terminated its relationship with the Zoneco Group after serving as the third-party certifying body for the company’s Marine Stewardship Council certification for its scallop fishery.

A statement provided to SeafoodSource by Lloyd’s Register Business Assurance and Inspection Services Global Marketing Communications Manager Beth Elliot confirmed the move, two months after an investigation was announced into the certification.

“Lloyd’s Register confirms it has now taken action to terminate the contract between Zoneco and Lloyd’s Register for services related to the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) certification of the Zhangzidao scallop fishery and is canceling all other current MSC assessment work for the organization. The MSC certificate for the Zhangzidao scallop fishery remains suspended. This action has been taken in line with the MSC General Certification Requirements V2.4.1, clause 7.4.1 [‘A conformity assessment body (CAB) may suspend or cancel a certificate for contractual or administrative reasons’],” it said. “As a leading global certification body auditing sustainable fisheries and food processors against MSC Standards, Lloyd’s Register is committed to upholding all requirements specified by the standard owner.”

Zoneco’s MSC certification – the first of its kind in China – was suspended in March, according to a statement provided by MSC to SeafoodSource in July. That statement also explained that a notice for suspension of fisheries certificate had been issued in January of 2020 “due to a contractual issue between the certifying agency, Acoura (a unit of UK based Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance) and Zoneco (also known as Zhangzidao).”

Zhangzidao gained global kudos in 2015 when it obtained MSC certification for its scallop fishery, though many Chinese processors have MSC chain of custody certification. At the time, the certification was audited by Intertek Moody, which conducted surveillance audits on the fishery for the first two years, at which point Acoura took over. The MSC certification was announced only months after Zoneco reported a major loss in yesso scallop (Patinopecten yessoensis) stocks in late 2014, due to what Zoneco described as sudden and dramatic changes in water temperature. It has suffered other massive die-offs of its scallops more recently, including last year.

Zoneco was also the focus of an investigation by the Chinese securities regulator, which resulted in a raft of senior executives being fined and fired earlier this year.

Photo courtesy of Chi-kama/Shutterstock


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