MSC certifies Faroe Island ling and tusk fishery

The Faroese fishery of ling (Molva molva) and tusk (Brosme brosme) has been declared sustainable and well-managed by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), becoming the third certificate-holder in the world for such species, alongside Iceland and Norway.

Klaksvik, Faroe Islands-based fishery client JFK entered into the MSC assessment process back in August 2017, and was audited by DNV GL using MSC’s updated Fisheries Standard v2.0 over the course of a 14-month period. The resulting certification applies “exclusively to the fleet of demersal trawlers and longlines that are members of P/F JFK and P/F Kósin, fishing for ling and tusk within ICES Division Vb1 and Vb2 – Faroe Bank and Faroe Plateau,” the MSC said.

The certification of the Faroese fishery is one that has been years in the making, according to Jógvan Hansen, sales and operations director at JFK.

“For years it has been a key priority for JFK to lead the way for Faroese seafood companies to achieve international recognition for our sustainable fisheries. To base our value creation solely on certifiably sustainable fisheries is our vision. We want to hand our renewable sea resources in as good as or better shape than when we received it from our forefathers. That is sustainability for JFK. We prioritized ling and tusk, since we have experienced increasing sustainability awareness from the customer groups in South Europe,” Hansen said.

“This fishery certification is another confirmation that JFK demonstrate leadership in bringing new fisheries in the Faroe into the MSC program,” added Gisli Gislason, MSC senior program manager for the North-Atlantic. “This fishery is certified with conditions, like most newcomers in the program, and we look forward to following the continuous improvements process. By getting this fishery certified as sustainable and well-managed against the MSC Standard, we hope it will be well received in the main saltfish markets in southern Europe, where product from those species are primarily consumed.”

The Faroese fishery of ling and tusk operates in the Faroe Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Faroe Plateau, and Faroe Bank, and is considered a mixed fishery with annual landings of tusk and ling somewhere in the vicinity of 2,500 to 5,500 metric tons (MT) respectively.

The last decade saw global catches for ling reach around 35,000 to 45,000 MT, while tusk ranged from 20,000 to 30,000 MT worldwide. Under MSC certification, the species are caught responsibly using demersal trawl and longline, as well as some jigging. Portugal, Spain, and Italy are the key markets for ling and tusk, with the salted products often purchased as either fillets or butterflied.


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