The Faroese fisheries for Cod and Haddock hasve received MSC certification

The Faroese fisheries for Cod and Haddock hasve received MSC certification

The MSC has approved the Faroese fisheries for cod and haddock in Faroese waters as sustainable according to their standards.

It has been vital for the approval that the Faroese Minister of Fisheries has implemented a management plan for setting the maximum number of fishing days.

The fact that the Faroese fisheries authorities in 2020 implemented a new system with a management plan for setting the number of fishing days based on scientific advice from the marine biologists has been decisive for the approval by the MSC of the fisheries as sustainable. This is revealed in an assessment report published by MSC.

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The new approval is an extension of the current MSC approval of the fisheries for ling and tusk in Faroese waters. Approvals can be conditional or unconditional. In this case, the approval by the MSC is conditional, where the most important condition is that the computer model and simulations for estimating precautionarity of the Management Plan are peer reviewed and if required work with the Faroese Authorities to modify the management plan so that the plan is consistent with MSC objectives.

For several years, the Faroese fishing industry has been limited in their access to international markets for fish products from cod and haddock caught in Faroese waters. Several retailers have required documentation for sustainability when selecting their suppliers. This has had fiscal consequences for the Faroese fish exports, since the fisheries have not had any international approval such as by the MSC.

Now that the Faroese fisheries for cod and haddock has been approved by the MSC as sustainable, Faroese suppliers of fish products have gained access to new markets and customer segments, who are potentially willing to pay a price premium relative to the current markets. This is obviously positive for the Faroese exports and the industry as a whole. According to the approval by the MSC all cod and haddock caught after June 9th 2021 is now internationally recognized as being sustainably caught.

The Faroese Fishing industry applauds the new opportunities

“In the industry we have been working systematically towards this situation, where the Faroese fishing authorities adjusted the fishery management system to be sustainable according to international principles” says Hanus Hansen, chairman of Faroe Islands Sustainable Fisheries (FISF), an organization established by the Faroese industry to administer the international certifications of Faroese fisheries. “We therefore applaud that the MSC now has certified the Faroese fisheries for cod and haddock as sustainable, which will benefit the industry and society as a whole.”

In July 2020, Jacob Vestergaard, Minister of Fisheries, publicly announced that the Faroese authorities now would follow a scientifically based management plan in setting the maximum number of fishing days for the demersal fisheries. This was implemented in a Executive Order in December 2020 setting the number of fishing days for 2021. Thus, the Minister of Fisheries implemented a recommendation by a working group with members from the industry and the research environment.

“Our objective is to manage the fishing stocks under Faroese sovereignty in such a manner, that the future generations can obtain the same benefits from our sea resources as the current generations” says Jacob Vestergaard, Minister of Fisheries. “I therefore chose to implement a system with a management plan based on scientific advice for each fish species, where we in a systematic manner follow the scientific advice to ensure sustainable fisheries. It is very satisfying to see that these efforts already pay off with this recognition by the MSC. This benefits all parties, since the world demands sustainably caught fish products, while we need the income from the fish exports.”

The MSC approval is based on clear principles

The Marine Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organisation. We recognise and reward efforts to protect oceans and safeguard seafood supplies for the future. The MSC certification is based on three main principles: (1) Sustainable fish stocks. (2) Minimising environmental impact. (3) Effective fisheries management.

Gisli Gislason from the MSC explains the background and process for certifying the Faroese fisheries for cod and haddock:

“The Faroese fishing industry contacted us in 2019 initiating the process to certify the Faroese fisheries as sustainable according to international standards. The background was that the Faroese authorities had decided to implement a management plan for setting the maximum number of fishing days based on scientific advice. Hereby, the Faroese society has chosen to comply with scientific recommendations in managing their fish stocks. Our experts have reviewed the data, recommendations, and the fishery management systems with respect to our three main principles. The process has been thorough but now we have finalised the certification process and approved the fisheries as sustainable. I also applaud that the Faroese industry has organised themselves in an organisation FISF, which administers their international certifications. This will for sure speed up the development and knowledge sharing in the industry.”

FISF has represented the Faroese industry in the process of certifying the Faroese fisheries as sustainable. Durita í Grótinum is the chief executive officer of FISF.

“Our cooperation with MSC has been very satisfying” says Durita í Grótinum, CEO. “MSC has a lot of formal requirements to the fisheries and the fisheries management system to meet their principles. That we have been able to achieve this goal is because the Faroese authorities have listened to experts to implement a management plan. Going forward, it is vital that we follow through in accordance to the management plan for the different fish species to preserve the MSC certification. It has also been vital that the Faroese Marine Research Institute has internationally recognised scientists, who foster scientific confidence in the Faroese fisheries management system.”

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Faroese Fisheries for Cod and Haddock have been certified by the MSC

by editor time to read: 8 min