Two north Atlantic fisheries have been awarded MSC certification following long assessment processes, with West Greenland’s offshore Greenland halibut fishery and Canada’s Division 3LN redfish certified as meeting MSC standards.
The certified Greenland halibut fishery takes place in Baffin Bay and the Davis Strait off West Greenland and has been in active since the mid-1960s. Fishing in the area is managed by the Government of Greenland, Ministry of Fisheries and Hunting, who set the annual TAC. Sustainable Fisheries Greenland (SFG) entered the fishery into MSC assessment in March 2016. This is the first MSC certified Greenland halibut fishery in the world and represents approximately half of the stock’s TAC.
‘Greenland halibut is an important fishery for the Greenlandic economy,’ said Lisbeth Due Shoeneman-Paul, corporate sustainability manager at Royal Greenland and chair of Sustainable Fisheries Greenland.
‘We have received more numbers of queries from our customers about the sustainability certification on our Greenland halibut fishery. We hope and believe this MSC certification will be well received by our overseas customers both in Europe and especially in Asia.’
‘The Greenlandic fishery client, SFG has made tremendous effort in getting key fisheries certified against the MSC standard,’ said Gisli Gislason, MSC senior program manager for Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
‘That applies for both their prawn, lumpfish and now the Greenland halibut fishery. By getting this certified as sustainable and well managed against the MSC Standard we hope it will be well received in the global markets, both in Europe and Asia.’
Enforcement by the Greenland Fishery License Control Authority (GFLK) subjects the fishery to logbook obligations and an observer scheme. Mesh size for nets has a regulated minimum of 100mm in the underwing and 140mm in the rest of the trawl, which avoids by-catch, and discards are prohibited.
In addition, the fishery for Acadian redfish in NAFO Division 3LN, can now be sold as MSC certified by companies with MSC Chain of Custody certificates.
Straddling Canadian and international waters, the 3LN redfish has a colourful history dotted by interaction with Soviet, Cuban, South Korean, Portuguese and Spanish fleets. After years of careful management, the stock recovered and the fishery was re-opened in 2010.
Canada holds 42.6% share of the TAC, the majority of which is caught by Ocean Choice International vessels fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.
‘This certificate is a demonstration of the rigour applied to the management of the Canadian redfish fishery in 3LN.” says Bruce Chapman, President of Groundfish Enterprise Allocation Council (GEAC), the industry association representing the fishery client group. ‘We continue to work towards all of our fisheries being able to bear the MSC label.’
Beyond TAC and individual country quotas, other conservation measures for redfish include gear specifications, restrictions on areas and times of fishing and protection of sensitive areas.
‘The combined efforts of all actors to follow globally accepted best fishery management practices for 3LN redfish is a clear signal to world markets of a long-term commitment to maintaining the stock at sustainable levels. It is also proof that fish stocks can recover and robust fisheries management works. The MSC is proud be a vehicle that the Canadian fishing industry employs to demonstrate this,’ said Jay Lugar, program director for MSC in Canada.