The MSC has suspended its Rockall Haddock Certification effective of 23 July 2022 following protected area breaches by Scottish fishing boats

The MSC has suspended its Rockall Haddock Certification effective of 23 July 2022 following protected area breaches

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has suspended its Certification of Rockall Haddock effective of 23 July 2022 after a recommendation by the independent conformity assessment body (CAB). 

The SFSAG Rockall haddock fishery was issued a notice of suspension in June. With the suspension now in place, fish caught on or after 23 July 2022 will no longer meet the MSC Standard and therefore cannot carry the blue MSC ecolabel. This suspension was not issued by the MSC but the fishery’s independent conformity assessment body (CAB), who conduct the assessments and decide if fisheries meet our strict and robust standard.  

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The suspension is a result of the fishery no longer meeting the scoring requirements under of SG60 for Performance Indicator (PI) 2.4.2d on habitats management, due to incursions from some vessels into protected areas, some of which contain vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs).  

This suspension only applies to SFSAG Rockall haddock. Haddock caught under the SFSAG Northern Demersal Stocks certificate remains certified.   

The MSC today told The Fishing Daily, “The suspension requires that SFSAG may not sell any Rockall haddock caught as MSC-certified on or after the effective date of suspension (23 July 2022), and until the suspension is lifted. Fish caught before that date may continue to be sold as MSC-certified.  

“The fishery has 90 days, from the suspension date, to adopt an action plan addressing the reasons for its suspension. If an action plan is submitted and confirmed by the certifier, the suspension will nevertheless remain in force until the reasons for the suspension are eliminated. If a fishery fails to submit an action plan within the prescribed period, the suspension turns into a withdrawal of the certificate.”  

Replying to the suspension, Marine Scotland said:

In April 2022, as part of a routine audit being carried out on behalf of the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC’s) certification scheme, the Marine Scotland Directorate of the Scottish Government provided details of suspected incursions into restricted areas at Rockall between 2018 and 2022 by some UK vessels accredited to this scheme.  

“The certification scheme is led by the MSC and the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group; we support the suspension action taken to protect vulnerable ecosystems and to maintain the reputation that most of Scotland’s fishing industry enjoy and work hard to protect. Industry members involved have been given 90 days to work with the SFSAG to provide a corrective action plan, and we will provide ongoing monitoring support to assist delivery of that.”


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Rockall Haddock MSC Certification suspended following protected area breaches

by editor time to read: 5 min