Danish fishery boss hails receiving MSC certification saying 'no MSC, no access'

Photo Credit: Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

Receiving Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for fishmeal and fish oil could be paramount in “accessing key markets”, according to the chief executive of the Danish Pelagic Producers Organisation (DPPO), one of two large Danish fisheries to receive the certification.

The DPPO and the Danish Fishermen’s Producers’ Organisation (DFPO) have received certification for their sandeel, Norway pout and sprat fisheries. The fish are almost exclusively processed into fish oil and fishmeal. 

Speaking to FeedNavigator, Esben Sverdrup-Jensen, CEO of the DPPO said: “We have learned from our certification on mackerel and herring, that the MSC label may be key in accessing key markets. 

“By pioneering MSC certification for the meal and oil markets, we hope to secure a strong position in the market for ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) suppliers and others committed to sustainable animal feed production.” 

The Danish fisheries caught a yearly average of 123,000 tons of sandeel, 155,000 tons of sprat and 26,000 tons of Norway pout between 2012 and 2016. 

The MSC certification process, carried out by MRAG Americas, took around 12 months. 

Sverdrup-Jensen said: “We began scoping work already back in 2010. The formal certification process took around 12 months. It’s an enduring process and you need to provide a lot of data on science, management and the fishery itself.” 

Robust management systems

The fisheries have implemented heightened robust management systems to mitigate against fluctuations of stocks levels, caused by environmental factors. 

Sverdrup-Jensen said: “One initiative has been to introduce ia closer corporation with Norway on the management of Norway Pout in the North Sea. Together with Norwegian colleagues we are bringing managers from EU and Norway together to develop a common management regime for the stock.”

The fisheries have agreed to enact further improvements to management of stocks, as conditions of the MSC certification.

The latest certification means that 95% of all DPPO landings are now MSC certified, but Sverdrup-Jensen said it would reach its target of 100%. 

“We will continue to work on strengthening the cooperation between the fisheries, managers and scientists to provide a better foundation for the management of fish stocks and ultimately reach our target of 100% MSC certification,” he told us. 

Crucial to be MSC certified

The consequences of its fishmeal and fish oil not being certified would likely have been severe, said Sverdrup-Jensen.

He added: “In more and more countries MSC means access to the market. No MSC, no access. MSC really has become the standard, For aquaculture we expect ASC to be the standard in key markets. 

“Without MSC in our feed supply we would be left outside the growing market for sustainable aquaculture production.”

Camiel Derichs, regional director for Europe at MSC, said: “The certification of these North Sea fisheries marks a milestone for the Danish fishing industry.”

Jonathan Broch Jacobsen, sustainability manager at DFPO, said: “With the current rapid global growth in aquaculture, it is paramount that the environmental footprint of aquaculture is sustainable. 

“By having our large reduction fisheries MSC certified, we contribute our part to this - and we raise the bar. Not only for our colleagues in other reduction fisheries around the world, but also for the producers of land based ingredients for aquaculture feeds.”

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