Norwegian cod, haddock net MSC eco-label

The Norwegian Seafood Export Council has gained Marine Stewardship certification for all Norwegian North East Atlantic cod and haddock fisheries.

With the certification, 340,000 metric tons of cod and 153,000 metric tons of haddock will be eligible to carry the MSC eco-label.

The certification includes the fisheries that take place in the Norwegian Exclusive Economic Zone from mid-Norway and northwards along the coast and into the Barents Sea. A variety of gear types are within the scope of the certification, including trawl, longlines, handlines, gill nets, jigging and Danish seines. The catch is sold worldwide with saltfish, clipfish and stockfish on sale in southern Europe and Latin America, while fillets, fresh and frozen fish are mostly sold in northern European markets.

The fishery had to meet certain challenges in order to attain the MSC standard. Targeted cod and haddock stocks in the Barents Sea were at healthy population levels and well-managed, but a pre-assessment indicated areas where cooperation and changes to management would be required. Managing the impact of the fisheries on bycatch of coastal cod, a distinct fish population for which stock status was uncertain according to Norwegian scientists, was one such challenge. During the assessment process, and a testament to the commitment of the Norwegian seafood industry and fisheries management to manage fisheries for the future, a rebuilding plan for coastal cod was adopted. This rebuilding plan aims to reduce fishing pressure on the coastal cod stocks though a variety of changes, including gear regulations, adoption of a high minimum landing size and adoption of closed areas. 

“Norway has a long tradition for managing its fisheries in harmony with nature, and is internationally regarded as one of the world’s leaders in sustainable fisheries management. This is a story we are proud to tell and the MSC certification of all the Norwegian North East Arctic cod and haddock fisheries will strengthen this message,” said Karin Olsen, NSEC whitefish marketing manager. “Third-party verification of the sustainability of seafood from Norway is a great way to ensure even more credibility in the marketplace for Norwegian suppliers. The fishing industry is the backbone of coastal Norway and is of vital importance to settlement and employment. Norway is therefore committed to sustainable fisheries, and we will continue to work hard to ensure that future generations will have the opportunity of enjoying Norwegian cod and haddock.”

“This is a milestone for the MSC program, and a fantastic result for the collective Norwegian seafood industry. Norwegian cod and haddock fisheries are among the most important whitefish fisheries in the world, from a market as well as from a historical perspective. When the MSC was approached by the Norwegian seafood industry six years ago, and learned that they aspired to secure MSC certification for their North East Arctic cod and haddock fisheries, all stakeholders involved knew this wouldn’t be a simple process,” said Camiel Derichs, MSC Europe deputy director. “I’d like to congratulate and thank all stakeholders that have been involved in this process. MSC looks forward to supporting the Norwegian cod and haddock fisheries in the years to come.”


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