The Marine Stewardship Council has annonced updates on the certification of Norwegian Arctic cod and haddock fisheries
- Inshore and offshore North East Arctic cod catch remains MSC certified until 3 May
- Offshore North East Arctic haddock has a new MSC certification
- Inshore North East Arctic haddock no longer MSC certified
Planned changes to the MSC certification of North East Arctic haddock caught by Norwegian fishery, Norges Fiskarlag, come into effect from 26 April 2021, while its North East Arctic cod certification has been temporarily extended until 3 May, the Marine Stewardship Council has confirmed.
Previous MSC certifications included the inshore and offshore stocks of North East Arctic cod and haddock, but the fishery decided to apply for reassessment to the MSC Fishery Standard for offshore only.
From 26 April, the offshore haddock catch remains MSC certified while the inshore element is no longer part of the certificate. Both inshore and offshore cod has a certificate extension to 3 May, due to an objection raised to the re-certification off offshore cod.
In the final stage of assessment to the MSC Fishery Standard, stakeholders can raise an objection to the independent assessor’s report which recommends if a fishery should or should not be MSC certified. While the Independent Adjudicator decides whether to accept or reject the objection, or ask for more information, the cod fishery’s certification is being extended one week at a time.
For the time-being, MSC certifications for Norway North East Arctic cod and haddock are as follows:-
Cod outside and inside 12 nautical miles: current MSC certificate is extended until 3 May 2021.
If the objection is accepted, the current MSC certification would be extended by six months. This is standard practice during an objection process.
If the objection is rejected, then cod fishing outside 12 nautical miles will be MSC certified, and inshore cod fishing will no longer be MSC certified.
Haddock outside 12 nautical miles: MSC certificate continues with a new five-year MSC certification commencing 26 April 2021.
Haddock inside 12 nautical miles: no longer MSC certified after 26 April 2021.
The Marine Stewardship Council’s Senior Program Manager in the North Atlantic, Gisli Gislason, said:
“As the current certification for both inshore and offshore cod has been extended until 3 May 2021, the fishery’s catch will remain MSC certified until then. It could be extended again, while the independent adjudicator reviews the objection to the offshore cod side of the fishery. If the objection is accepted, it is standard practice for the MSC to extend certification by six months.
“To ensure the outcome is entirely impartial, the MSC is independent of both the assessment and objection processes, therefore, we cannot say what the outcome will be.
“The fishery decided to withdraw its inshore cod and haddock catch from MSC certification, while it works with Norway’s management agencies to find a way to reduce its bycatch of coastal cod from 5% to 2%. From the start of its MSC certification in 2011, the inshore fishery has been tasked with finding a solution to this issue, and we hope it is making some progress on this front.”
MSC certified fisheries meet strict science-based criteria for ensuring sustainable fish stocks, minimising environmental impacts and effectively managing their fishery. Once certified, MSC fisheries undergo annual audits, deliver improvements against any conditions and are reassessed every five years.