Scottish group welcomes MSC Faroe suspension


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
June 23, 2013

A Scottish fishermen’s group has praised a move by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to suspend certification for the Faroe Islands herring fishery, on allegations that the fishery is violating an international agreement by overfishing its stocks.

The MSC’s conformity assessment body, DNV, announced the suspension last week. The suspension, in part, came from the Faroese government announcing a herring quota that was thousands of metric tons (MT) above a quota set by a multi-national agreement in December 2012. While the Faroe Islands never signed the agreement, the DNV argued the higher quotas still constitutes a violation, which is grounds for certification suspension.

The MSC’s announcement drew support from the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association.

“We welcome this move to suspend MSC certification of Faroese caught Atlanto-Scandian herring,” said Ian Gatt, chief executive of the association. “Their reckless actions by walking away from international negotiations and then massively increasing their quota should not go unpunished.”

Even before the MSC’s announcement, the European Commission began pursing possible sanctions against the Faroese regarding herring, and today the association urged the commission to proceed. The association also urged herring buyers to avoid Faroese herring, based on the MSC’s decision.

“The market should heed this decision and only source Atlantic herring from those countries involved in sustainable fishing practices and boycott Faroese herring,” Gatt said.

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