November 12, 2015

Iceland’s ling first to be MSC certified

Ling is one of more than 30 cod-like fish species that are caught in the waters around Iceland. A large part of the ling caught by Icelandic boats is salted and exported to southern Europe, and it is also popular in Sweden, where it is a popular Christmas dish.

Ling is mainly caught off the south and west coast of Iceland by longline vessels although it is also caught by trawlers.

Icelandic catches have been around 4,000 to 8,000 tonnes annually and have increased in recent years as the stock has grown significantly.

The ISF ling fishery was certified under an MSC cost-saving system that allows fisheries targeting multiple species to re-use up-to-date data from one fishery assessment (the saithe fishery) in the assessment of a second retained species from the same fishery (ling).

The ling fishery will be due for reassessment at the same time as the saithe fishery, in 2019.

Kristinn Hjálmarsson, ISF project manager, said: ‘ISF was established in 2012 by nearly 20 export and production companies in Iceland, who joined hands on MSC applications for cod and haddock.

‘The number of ISF partners is now up to 40 and the number or certifications are now seven. Before ling, ISF held MSC certifications for cod, haddock, golden redfish, saithe, herring and lumpfish.

‘At ISF the aim is to continue to apply for MSC certifications of Icelandic fisheries and work with stakeholders on conditions to maintain sustainability of the waters and provide consumers an assurance that Icelandic fisheries are indeed sustainable.’

Gisli Gislason, MSC manager for Iceland, Greenland and the Faroes, said: ‘There are over 130 companies in Iceland with MSC Chain of Custody certification and there are 40 company members of the client group (ISF).

‘For Icelandic fish to be sold as MSC certified in the market it needs to be sold at one stage via an ISF member.

‘This certification of ling is the seventh MSC certification in Iceland, which demonstrates the industry’s long-term commitment to sustainable fishing and an equally growing market demand for seafood from sustainable sources. MSC welcomes and supports this development.’