Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of the North Sea haddock fishery has yielded significant benefits across the industry, from increased prices in some areas to a better public reputation.
And for this reason there is support among fishermen, processors and retailers for additional species – such as cod and whiting – to potentially enter the MSC assessment process in the future.
These are the key conclusions of a report carried out for the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) by Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management. The report was jointly funded by Seafish and the European Fisheries Fund.
“We were very interested in tracking the benefits and costs of MSC accreditation for an entire fishery and the North Sea haddock fishery is a good example,” said Mike Park, Chair of SFSAG.
“The report shows that while there are significant costs for the fishery to achieve MSC certification and for wholesalers, processors and retailers to gain Chain of Custody status, these are outweighed by the benefits.
“This is the first study of its kind, and we may follow up with further studies to further validate the conclusions.”
The study – Assessment of the Benefits of MSC Certification to a Major UK Fisher and its Supply Chain – found:
Anecdotal evidence that some processors and wholesalers will pay up to an additional 10 per cent for MSC certified haddock
The transfer of this price premium of up to 10 per cent to those further up the supply chain such as retailers
Clear qualitative and quantitative evidence that MSC certification has both maintained market share for North Sea haddock and opened up new markets
Evidence that MSC certification is helping to future-proof the industry as events such as the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and institutional buyers adopting sustainable fish-buying policies
Improved reputational benefits for the fishing industry, helping to raise consumer confidence and enhancing political credibility.
A range of other indirect benefits were also identified, including the importance of promoting Scottish origin (90 per cent of UK haddock landings are accounted for by Scottish vessels) and improved traceability.
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