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First Chilean Mussel Fishery Gains MSC Certification

17 February 2014

CHILE - The Chilean mussel (Mytilus chilensis) fishery and suspended culture has been certified to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard for sustainable, well-managed fisheries following an independent assessment conducted by IMOswiss AG (IMO), formerly the Institute for Marketecology. Mussels from this fishery are now eligible to carry the blue MSC ecolabel.

The fishery is located in Region X of “Los Lagos de Chile” in the South East Pacific Ocean in FAO Statistical area 87. This is an enhanced fishery and seed mussels are harvested by suspended substrates. Seed mussel collection takes place in the area of Reloncaví, Puerto Montt and grow-out operations are conducted in the Province of Chiloé. Wild caught seed from the coastal sea of Chile within Region X are used. The client group for the fishery is Toralla S.A. and Cultivos Toralla S.A.

The characteristics of the Chilean mussel fishery and suspended culture meet the scope criteria for enhanced fisheries in the MSC Certification Requirements.

The Chilean mussel fishery relies upon mussel seed collection from the wild environment which is native to the concerned area. Neither feeding nor disease prevention takes place. Lastly, the habitat modifications are reversible and do not cause serious or irreversible harm to the natural ecosystem's structure and function.

While there is no Total Allowable Catch (TAC) currently established, the catch was 12,000 metric tons in 2011 and 11,000 metric tons in 2012. Spain is the largest commercial market for the harvest, followed by the rest of Europe and the United States. Mussels from this fishery are harvested mainly between October and July.

We have become pioneers because we are the first Chilean company to obtain this certification
Toralla S.A. and Cultivos S.A. Toralla CEO, Sergio Leiro Oubiña said: “It is an immense satisfaction having achieved MSC certification for the mussels produced in our processing plant and own cultivation sites. We have become pioneers, because we are the first Chilean company to obtain this certification, demonstrating our commitment and preoccupation to do things well, caring for our ecosystem and nature. MSC is a very important and respected organization worldwide for its sustainable fishery certification programme and for that reason our company is privileged and honored to have obtained MSC certification under its strict sustainability standard and environmental stewardship."

“Interest in the MSC programme in Latin America is growing and I am pleased the Chilean mussel fishery and suspended culture has become the first fishery in Chile to be certified,” said Jim Humphreys, fisheries director for MSC Americas.

“This fishery has now demonstrated its sustainability to world markets and is paving the way for other fisheries in Chile and the region to follow.”

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