Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

Three fisheries are celebrating after being recertified to the Marine Stewardship Council standard for sustainable fishing.

The Scottish Fisheries Sustainability Accreditation Group (SFSAG) Northern Demersal fishery recently achieved its recertification for whiting while the Dee Estuary & Burry Inlet cockle fisheries also gained recertification, this time on a joint certificate.

Mike Park, chief executive of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association, said of the news: “The catching sector continues to improve its sustainability credentials with the current healthy state of North Sea whiting being testament to that.

“Receiving MSC certification provides a glowing report-card that our direction of travel, with regard to the fishermen being guardians of the stocks, remains well on course.  We are firmly aligned with the MSC who, through their standard, provide confidence to the consumer. If it has the tick they can be assured its sustainably harvested.”

As well as whiting, MSC certified haddock, plaice, saithe and hake are all caught by vessels which belong to the SFSAG.

Andrea Winterton, marine services manager, from Natural Resources Wales, who is responsible for the day-to-day cockle management of the Dee Estuary and the Burry Inlet, said:

“The MSC recertification of both fisheries is a milestone achievement and reflects the extremely hard work by all concerned to improve Fishery Management in recent years.

“These improvements have included better survey methodologies and a new Management Plans, which have provided much better information on stock distribution and population trends and contributed to our objective to develop thriving fisheries which supports the needs of the community and the environment upon which they depend.”

The Burry Inlet cockle fishery was the first bi-valve fishery in the world to be certified in 2001 while Dee Estuary cockle fishery became certified in 2012.

In both the Dee Estuary and Burry Inlet, Wales, a small number of licensed gatherers rake cockles from the mud at low tide. They sieve them through meshes in-situ, allowing any undersized cockles to return to the mud and be reburied.

Jo Pollett, senior fisheries outreach manager for the MSC UK & Ireland, said: “It’s fantastic to celebrate the achievements of three fisheries from different parts of the country, all of which have worked hard to regain their MSC certification, and demonstrated a long-standing commitment to sustainability. It would be great to see more of these sustainable UK fish available to UK consumers.”