U.S. sea scallops enter MSC assessment


James Wright, Senior Editor

Published on
March 15, 2010

The U.S. Atlantic sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) dredge fishery, the largest of its kind in the world, on Monday 15 March entered full assessment in the Marine Stewardship Council’s certification program for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

The special announcement was made at the International Boston Seafood Show.

“Operating sustainably and seeking MSC certification is the right thing to do not only for us, but certainly for the people behind us who will run out companies in the future,” said Ross Paasche, president of the American Scallop Association, which will serve as the fishery’s client throughout the certification process.

“Down the road it will be the minimum threshold for global buyers. Products will need a mark of some sort and we clearly see the MSC as the authority when it comes to certification as a sustainable fishery,” added Paasche.

U.S. sea scallop landings along the East Coast reached 53.5 million pounds in 2008, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, making it the largest sea scallop fishery in the world by value. Most of the product is landed at New Bedford, Mass., which has been the No. 1 U.S. port in terms of economic value for nine consecutive years. The fishery’s value in 2008 was USD 241.3 million.

“The MSC is pleased to see this significant fishery moving forward with full assessment,” said MSC Americas Regional Director Kerry Coughlin. “If they are successful, MSC certification will provide the Atlantic scallop fishery with an internationally recognized method to demonstrate to their buyers, and consumers of this popular seafood, that they have made a meaningful and long-term commitment to seafood sustainability.”

Overall, more than 180 fisheries worldwide are engaged in the MSC program with 64 certified and more than 120 under full assessment. More than 3,800 seafood products bear the MSC’s oval blue eco-label.

The London-based nonprofit also announced on Monday that the French saithe fishery has been awarded sustainability certification. The fishery is based in Boulogne-sur-Mer. A celebratory event will be held at the European Seafood Exposition in Brussels, Belgium, on 28 April.

More coverage of the 2010 International Boston Seafood Show >

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