BELGIUM - The number of fisheries around the world that have been certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council has reached 221.
At present there are another 108 being assessed for certification and the total catch of all these fisheries is more than 9 million tonnes, Nicolas Guichoux the Global Commercial Director for the MSC told a conference at the Seafood Expo Global in Brussels this week.
Mr Guichoux said that the total wholesale value of the fish being caught under the MSC certificate was $4.5 billion – an increase of 21 per cent on the 2013 figures.
Since November last year, there has been certification of about a dozen fisheries including Atlantic sea scallop – the highest value fishery in the US.
The Alaska salmon fishery has received recertification, making it the first fishery to receive certification for the third time.
The first Mahi-Mahi fishery was certified in March and Australia’s first tuna fishery is at present being assessed.
Last month, Grupo Regal’s line caught hake fishery was certified as well as AGARBA’s cod fishery in Spain and Russia’s Pollock fishery.
“There is a steady growth in Marine Stewardship Council labelled products,” Mr Guichoux said.
He added that Germany is still the powerhouse for these products followed by the Netherlands, Sweden, UK and US.
“Europe and the US are the main players,” he said.
The growth in products, with more than 15,000 consumer products around the world being MSC labelled has been assisted by the interest from the major supermarkets.
Carrefour in France has made a commitment to have 100 per cent of its own products MSC labelled this year and Waitrose in the UK is committed to have all its fish products MSC certified by 2016 with a 50 per cent growth in a year.
There is also significant promotion for MSC products in other supermarkets such as Edeka, Globus, Rewe, Metro, Tegat and Sainsbury. Mr Guichoux told the conference.
He said that the impact of MSC certification had been to see improvements made in 450 fisheries with fish stocks improved in 14 fisheries and 25 fisheries having completed habitat and ecosystem improvements.
All these improvements and the strength of the ecolabel has produced significant price premium – producing about 13 per cent price premium for MSC certified salmon in the UK.
“The MSC is still growing. Demand is still growing and there is a rise in the new and emerging markets,” Mr Guichoux said.
“There is also evidence of positive environmental and economic impacts.”