MSC certification for clam fishery syncs with China’s fisheries priorities

Published on
September 23, 2021
A Chinese clam fishery located on the border with North Korea has been granted Marine Stewardship Council certification.

A Chinese clam fishery located on the border with North Korea has been granted Marine Stewardship Council certification, in what the MSC is terming an important milestone for the global sustainable seafood movement.

The Yalu Estuary manila clam fishery in the China Yellow Sea has become the first clam fishery in China to achieve MSC certification. The fishery’s successful certification comes as the successful result of the formation of a fishery improvement project (FIP) started in 2016, which saw collaboration between seafood firms Dandong Taihong Foodstuff and Nichirei Fresh Inc, alongside the China and Japan offices of the WWF. Nicherei focuses on the Japanese market.

“This certification will definitely help us to improve our management and strengthen the market linkage with both international and local market,” Dandong Taihong Foodstuff Chairman Xing Lianhong said in a statement.  

Auditor SCS Global Services will continue to audit the fishery every year to ensure that it maintains the high levels of sustainability required for MSC certification, with a full reassessment after five years.

The Yalu River runs along the border between China and North Korea. The newly certified fishery is “leading the way in conserving the ecosystem and demonstrating how a sustainable fishery program can generate multiple benefits, balancing ecological conservation and economic return,” said Cui He, president of China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA).

“The sustainable practices of the Manila clam fishery in these coastal mudflats will be a flagship for other fisheries in the area,” Cui said.

There are signs that international certification systems like MSC could be about to enjoy a new popularity in China, where policymakers have prioritized higher environmental standards for aquaculture, while also guaranteeing livelihoods for local seafood producers through domestic market sales, Cui previously told SeafoodSource.

Reaching “international standards” on aquaculture management was listed in a document of funding priorities jointly published by the China’s ministries of agriculture and finance earlier this year. The document listed “conservation of fishery resources,” the building of “marine ranches,” and “modern fishery equipment and facilities,” as priorities for government support. The document also stated “standardized transformation” of earthen ponds and related effluent discharge will be a priority for government funding and singled out “performance-enhancement awards” for aquaculture farms.

The certification of the clam fishery is a success story for MSC in China, after an earlier certification by MSC of Dalian, China-based Zoneco’s scallop fishery was canceled last year following disputes about auditing of the fishery.

Photo courtesy of Marine Stewardship Council

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