Eco-label awarded to UK mackerel fishery

Vessels catching mackerel around the Scottish coast have been awarded certification by the Marine Stewardship Council, recognising that their landings are from well-managed stocks.

This follows the certification of North Sea herring last year as a well managed stock that people can eat without fear that they are destroying the stock or destroying other species as by-catch.

The Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group is responsible for Scotland’s largest individual catches of fish.  They landed  95,700 tons of mackerel in 2007.  Smoked, frozen and fresh mackerel will soon be on sale bearing the MSC logo meaning that it can be traced back to the independently certified SPSG fishery.

John Goodlad, chairman of the Group, said:   “This is another defining moment for the Scottish pelagic industry as it establishes its environmentally responsible credentials.”
The Scottish Government’s Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead added: “This is a welcome boost and further evidence that one of our most valuable stocks is being managed sustainably.

“The fact our fishermen will be able to land extra mackerel next year is just reward for their efforts in driving forward tough conservation measures.”

Rupert Howes, chief executive of the Marine Stewardship Council said: ” This is an important UK fishery producing significant quantities of fish for an international market.

“The SPSG fleet boasts some of the most advanced pelagic trawlers in the world including low-emission diesel engines, selective sonar and the latest developments in net technology. We look forward to further engagement with the Scottish fishing industry.”

So far the MSC has not been approached by the whitefish industry, which catches heavily overfished cod, but the Norwegian and Russian cod fishery announced last week that it was applying for eco-certification by the MSC adding to pressure on Icelandic and North Sea fisheries to do likewise.


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