EuroCommerce urges coastal states to negotiate quotas to retain certifications

Published on
June 24, 2020

EuroCommerce, a European organization representing the retail and wholesale sector – with member companies including Amazon, Ahold Delhaize, Ikea, Tesco, and more – has written a letter to multiple coastal states urging speedy negotiations of fishing quotas.

The letter comes as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), along with MarinTrust – formerly IFFO RS – have suspended accreditation of multiple fisheries due to countries exceeding recommended catch limits. Disputes about catches between coastal states have led overall quotas to be set higher than the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas recommends.

EuroCommerce stated it is worried that the fisheries could lose MSC certification, which would lead to sourcing problems for many of the retailers the organization represents, many of which have established MSC certification requirements for seafood.

“It has been brought to our attention that in January 2020, the auditors of the four different MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified fisheries collectively issued an announcement, indicating that the atlanto-scandic herring fisheries risk losing their MSC certification by 30 November, unless specific conditions are fulfilled, which relate to the collective management of atlanto-scandic herring fisheries,” Christian Verschueren, director-general of EuroCommerce, wrote in a letter to the negotiating countries.

Herring, Verschueren stated, is an important species in retail, and losing the certification would be problematic.

“Herring is a very important product in Northern European retail; it is one of the most consumed seafood species, especially by households in German speaking parts of Europe, Scandinavia, and Benelux,” Verschueren wrote. “Importantly, atlanto-scandic herring is a MSC certified product, which provides us and our consumers with an independent verification of its sustainability credentials. Sustainably managed, atlanto-scandic herring is an important seafood option available to our customers.”

The organization urged the coastal states to negotiate a scientifically sound quota and avoid the potential impacts to the seafood industry.

“EuroCommerce would like to urge all coastal states negotiators to commit to a clear negotiation process and to establish binding fisheries management strategies, to fish in accordance with scientific advice, and to honour sustainable quota shares for the shared stocks in the Northeast Atlantic,” Verschueren wrote. 

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