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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

From "less than 100 mature cod" to MSC Certification for sustainability in less than three years!

There is sufficient confidence in the recovery of North Sea cod stocks that the fishery will be assessed for certification to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard for sustainability.

Icelandic Seachill is leading an application to the Seafish Strategic Investment Fund fund to support the assessment, and this has passed the first stage, the company announced at the World Seafood Congress in Grimsby, UK.

In addition, Icelandic Seachill is providing financial support and support in kind, along with the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG), Marks and Spencer, WM Morrison Supermarkets, and J. Sainsbury, whilst the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations and Young’s Seafood are supporting the assessment in kind.

This group expects the assessment be commissioned in early 2016.
North Sea cod is consumed primarily in the UK and European market where consumers are increasingly aware of the role they play in choosing sustainably sourced seafood. Its historical decline has been well documented by media and it has become a focal point of campaigns by NGOs.

“The status of North Sea cod is a barometer used frequently by the media to represent the sustainability of fish in general,” said Nigel Edwards, technical and CSR director at Seachill.

This certification, if successful, will underline the recovery of cod following the successful MSC certification of the Icelandic cod, for which Seachill was the client, and Barents Sea cod, said Edwards. “It’s great to see all levels of the supply chain working together with a common goal of sustainable fisheries and we hope to emulate this partnership to secure the recovery and certification of fisheries.”

North sea cod-capturing-crusaders like the Budding Rose proved right.
Scottish fishermen have contributed significantly to the return of cod in the North Sea, said Mike Park, chairman of SFSAG, the body responsible for the certification of other North Sea fish stocks.

“Young’s are proud to be part of this journey and to be providing ongoing direct support to the project from our own marine biologist as the initiative enters this important phase,” Peter Ward, CEO of Young’s, said.

“It is many years since cod from the North Sea has played an important role in feeding our nation and we look forward to its return to our plates very soon as an independently certified sustainable option,” he said.