Fish Conservation Award Boost

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GENERAL…
Scotland’s high quality, locally caught North Sea haddock has achieved the gold standard of sustainability, delivering a major boost to the fishing industry.

The first landings of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified haddock arrived at Peterhead market this morning.

First Minister Alex Salmond joined fishermen and members of the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) in Peterhead to witness the official presentation of the award.

First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“Congratulations to SFSAG for this landmark achievement. Scotland is leading the rest of Europe on fisheries conservation and achieving the MSC gold standard for Scottish haddock is further recognition of this. The award is excellent news for our fishing fleets and is testament to the hard work of the industry in recent years.

“North sea haddock is Scotland’s most valuable whitefish stock and achieving sustainable stock status will ensure further opportunities for our fishermen in the future. This could open the door for lucrative deals with leading retailers which value MSC status.

“The Scottish Government and industry have been working together to ensure that we are at the forefront of developing innovative ways to manage our fisheries.

We have introduced the Conservation Credits Scheme in North Sea whitefish fisheries, which has been instrumental in the certification of haddock. And WWF ranked Scotland number one in Europe, together with Denmark, for conservation measures by North Sea whitefish fleets in 2009.”

Mike Park, Chair of SFSAG said:

“The Scottish industry has been involved in a number of initiatives to demonstrate its sustainability and today is a significant milestone, illustrating the progress that has been made in a relatively short period of time. Achieving MSC accreditation for North Sea haddock will enable the industry to prove its credentials to the supply chain, through a recognised and independently verified standard, and ensure that the top quality haddock landed by Scottish vessels is available to as many consumers as possible.”

North Sea haddock is the first Scottish whitefish to be certified with the gold standard of sustainability, and is of significant value to the fleet (26 thousand tonnes worth £25m in 2009).