MSC certification for Iceland’s first fisheries


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
June 23, 2011

Iceland’s first fisheries have been certified sustainable according to the Marine Stewardship Council, the London-based program announced on Friday.

Sæmark Seafood Ltd.’s cod and haddock fisheries are now eligible to carry the MSC eco-label, just over a year after entering the assessment process.

Iceland’s 2009-10 total allowable catch is set at 150,000 metric tons for cod and 63,000 metric tons for haddock, and the certified fisheries encompass 6,200 metric tons of Atlantic cod and 3,300 metric tons haddock harvested by long line, handline and Danish seine year-round mainly off the west and northwest coasts of Iceland.

The MSC certificate includes 22 boats supplying four processors associated with Sæmark: Fiskvinnslan Íslandssaga hf, Hraðfrystihús Hellissands hf, Oddi hf and Þórsberg ehf. The fresh and frozen cod and haddock is exported mainly to the United States, United Kingdom and continental Europe. Salted fish is exported to Spain, Italy and Greece.

“There is increasing market demand for MSC-certified seafood, and we are looking forward to meeting that demand,” said Svavar Þór Guðmundsson, managing director of Sæmark. “We believe the MSC certification of our cod and haddock fisheries will support Sæmark’s existing business in key markets like the UK and the USA as well as increase our sales in new markets. In addition, obtaining MSC certification will enable us to communicate our commitment to sustainability, which is vital in today’s seafood business.”

Earlier this week, three more Icelandic fisheries announced that they are pursuing Iceland Responsible Fisheries certification, six months after the country’s cod fishery earned the distinction.

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