Shetland’s shellfish sector has been praised in a far-reaching report into sustainability.
The State of the Water Report for UK and Ireland is the first of its kind from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
The MSC sets a global standard for sustainability against which fisheries are certified.
Its blue ecolabel is regarded as the world leader for sustainable seafood.
The report is being released as part of Sustainable Seafood September, a campaign to encourage seafood lovers to choose seafood only from sustainable sources.
Highlighted are Shetland’s scallop fishermen, who now avoid specified closed areas in order to protect endangered horse mussels, whose beds are known to provide an important foundation for other marine life.
Steps are also taken to protect maerl – a type of coral and another important habitat, particularly for crabs, urchins and worms.
John Robertson, Inshore Co-ordinator, at Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation (SSMO), said: “It’s good to see the hard work of Shetland fishermen commended in this report.
“It’s not easy to meet the standards needed for MSC approval but the effort pays off for our fishermen through stronger prices and a stable market.
“When stocks are managed to be sustainable it means plenty crab and scallops out there for our fleet to catch.”
Some 146 improvements have been made since 2001 to make the UK’s fishing practices far more sustainable, the State of the Water report reveals.
Continuous improvement ensures that sustainable fisheries have healthier fish stocks and minimise their impact on the marine environment.