Meet the world's first MSC certified octopus fishery

Published on
February 12, 2016

A Spanish octopus fishery has earned certification under to the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) Fisheries Standard, a world first for a fishery of its kind.

Comprised of four artisanal fishing guilds from western Asturias – Nuestra Señora de la Atalaya de Puerto de Vega, Nuestra Señora de la Caridad de Ortiguera, Santo Ángel de la Guarda de Viavélez and San Pedro de Tapia de Casariego – octopuses sourced from the fishery can now bear the blue MSC ecolabel.

“We are very pleased to be the first octopus fishery in the world to be recognized as sustainable. Achieving MSC certification is a recognition of our commitment to sustainability. It’s been more than a year of hard work from all of us artisanal fishers from the West Asturias region. We are committed to protecting our ocean because we know that the future of our coastal communities and the sustainability of the environment depends on it,” said Adolfo García Méndez Main, skipper of Fishermen Association of Nuestra Señora de la Atalaya, Puerto de la Vega.

"Today’s certification is pioneering. One of the priorities for the MSC in Spain and Portugal is to encourage more local fisheries to join the program, in order to expand our offer of locally-sourced certified sustainable seafood. We congratulate the Navia-Porcía guilds on their commitment to sustainability and wish them much success with the promotion of MSC-certified Asturian octopus,” added Laura Rodríguez, MSC Spain and Portugal Country Manager.

The fleet that fishes in the region is 27 vessels strong with a base in the Navia-Porcía region of western Asturias; only artisanal fishers are employed by the fleet. Bureau Veritas (BV), an independent certification assessment body, assessed the fishery and found the octopus stocks to be healthy and the fishery well managed, with only minimal impact on the marine ecosystem, MSC confirmed.

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