Scottish saithe certified

The Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) saithe fishery has been MSC certified as a sustainable and well-managed fishery. The certification is the second for the group, which also represents the SFSAG haddock fishery, MSC certified in 2010.

Protecting delicate ecosystems
Fishing with bottom trawls, pair trawls and Scottish seines, the certified fishery includes around 230 Scottish vessels catching around 10,000 tonnes of saithe each year. As part of the certification, and underlining the SFSAG’s commitment to sustainability, the fishery has committed to 10 further actions to improve environmental performances from current sustainable levels, to global best practice. One of these actions will help to protect a recently-discovered bed of cold water corals by ensuring that the fishing vessels continue to avoid the East Mingulay Reefs area, currently proposed as a Scottish Conservation Area.

In their final report, the certifiers also praised the approach taken by the Scottish Government in developing a marine planning system in an open, transparent and consultative way as the best way of resolving potentially controversial decisions.

Mike Park, Chair of SFSAG said: “Whilst the Scottish fleet continues to work hard on its environmental credentials and to demonstrate a firm commitment to sustainability, we don’t always get the acknowledgement we deserve. MSC allows us to obtain recognition in a way the consumer can grasp; they know their choice is sustainable because of the MSC logo.
“We operate in a global market that demands a sustainable certified product, and we must continue to be competitive and to ensure that we maintain our market share, whilst keeping the most important person in the supply chain happy. The consumer.“

Leading position on sustainability

Toby Middleton, Senior Country Manager for the MSC welcomed the certification: “This certification demonstrates the increasingly holistic approach that the Scottish whitefish fleet is taking towards mixed-species, multi-gear fisheries. It also underlines the commitment the Scottish industry has towards long-term ecosystem-based management and the leading position they are taking in ensuring best practice around the world.”
The certification is great news for consumers eager to buy a high-quality, economical whitefish and key retailers have already expressed an interest in stocking Scottish saithe with the MSC ecolabel in their stores.


Notes to Editors
For further information, please contact James Simpson, Marine Stewardship Council on +44 (0)207 246 8913 or email

Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group
The Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group was set up in 2008 to take North Sea haddock through the MSC process and is continuing their work to achieve sustainable status for other Scottish stocks.The Group represents members from the catching, processing and marketing sectors of the Scottish seafood industry.

Marine Stewardship Council
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organisation set up to help transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis. The MSC runs the only certification and ecolabelling programme for wild-capture fisheries consistent with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation Guidelines for the Eco-labelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries. These guidelines are based upon the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing and require that credible fishery certification and eco-labelling schemes include:
Objective, third-party fishery assessment utilising scientific evidence;
Transparent processes with built-in stakeholder consultation and objection procedures;
Standards based on the sustainability of target species, ecosystems and management practices.

The MSC has regional or area offices in London, Seattle, Tokyo, Sydney, The Hague, Glasgow, Beijing, Berlin, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Halifax, Paris, Madrid, Moscow, Stockholm, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Singapore and Reykjavik.

In total, over 300 fisheries are engaged in the MSC programme with 205 certified and over 100 under full assessment. Another 40 to 50 fisheries are in confidential pre-assessment. Together, fisheries already certified or in full assessment record annual catches of close to ten million metric tonnes of seafood. This represents over eleven per cent of the annual global harvest of wild capture fisheries. Certified fisheries currently land over seven million metric tonnes of seafood annually – close to eight per cent of the total harvest from wild capture fisheries. Worldwide, more than 20,300 seafood products, which can be traced back to the certified sustainable fisheries, bear the blue MSC ecolabel.

For more information on the work of the MSC, please visit
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