Irish rope-grown mussels get MSC blue label
BIM CEO Jim O’Toole with Jo Pollett of MSC UK and Ireland and mussel farmer Michael Mulloy of Blackshell Farm Ltd. Image: Julien Behal Photography

Irish rope-grown mussels get MSC blue label

The Irish rope grown mussel fishery has achieved Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency, is the holder of this latest MSC certificate. The state agency also holds the certificate for the Irish bottom grown mussel fishery, which achieved certification in 2013.

With this latest certification the entire Irish mussel fishery under BIM management is certified.
‘BIM’s strategy is to enable sustainable growth of the seafood sector in Ireland. The prestigious certification achieved allows for a  unique national approach where all mussel growers operating in licensed harvest locations in Ireland can now label their mussels with the MSC ecolabel, showing that they are MSC certified as sustainable and from a well-managed fishery,’ said BIM CEO Jim O’Toole, commenting on the collaborative, cross-industry approach taken by BIM to achieve this result.
‘Ireland’s mussel industry is export focussed and MSC certification of Irish rope grown mussels provides valuable evidence to the marketplace of the  sustainable environment in which  our seafood is produced.  This recognition by the MSC means our seafood is produced to the highest standard and protects our aquaculture for future generations.’
The announcement was celebrated during a visit to Blackshell farm in Westport, Co Mayo, where Jim O’Toole joined Jo Pollett of MSC UK and Ireland, and mussel farmer Michael Mulloy of Blackshell Farm Ltd, who is also Chair of IFA Aquaculture.
‘This is a significant achievement and great news for Irish mussels. BIM has shown ambition and leadership in  pushing for the sustainability of Irish fisheries. We’re really excited to have this fishery as part of the MSC programme and look forward to a healthy future for Irish mussels,’ Jo Pollett said.
The Irish mussel industry was valued at €11.7 million in 2018 according to the BIM Business of Seafood report. The rope-grown sector produces in the region of 9000 tonnes each year. This method of mussel farming was introduced in the 1980s predominantly along the west coast of Ireland and is subject to MSC from today.