Boost for fleet as North Sea herring gains MSC recognition

The North Sea’s herring fishery has been officially recognised as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.

The MSC has allowed the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group’s (SPSG) herring stocks to be recertified as well managed, and has awarded it the body’s prestigious “ecolabel”.

Scottish fishing minister Richard Lochhead. Photo: Dave Donaldson
Scottish fishing minister Richard Lochhead. Photo: Dave Donaldson

At a ceremony today aboard the Peterhead herring vessel Lunar Bow, Scots Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead and MSC chief executive Rupert Howes presented SPSG chairman John Goodlad with the new certificate. 

Mr Goodlad said: “This recertification today is an important milestone for the North Sea herring fishery and is a clear demonstration of SPSG’s sustainability credentials and investment in the MSC programme.”

Mr Lochhead added: “Scotland’s approach to sustainable and well managed fisheries is renowned for being world-leading, and accreditation schemes such as MSC play a massive part in that.

“I would like to congratulate the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group on securing this re-certification for North Sea herring, a fantastic achievement which is due recognition for all the hard work of our pelagic fleet.”

The SPSG was established in 2007 and represents all sectors of Scotland’s pelagic industry. 

North Sea herring was the first SPSG fishery to be certified in 2008 under the MSC Environmental Standard for Sustainable Fishing and three more have followed since.

Under the MSC scheme, all fisheries must undergo recertification every five years.


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