A leading Aberdeenshire Councillor has expressed concern at the 90 day notice issued by the Marine Stewardship Council to suspend the certification of sustainability from the Scottish Mackerel fishery.
Councillor Paul Johnston, leader of the Council’s Democratic Independent Councillors said:
” This is not due to the actions of Scottish pelagic fishermen. The Scottish fleet are currently fishing healthy stocks within a sustainable limit. The actions of Faroese and Icelandic governments in plunging the stock into an unsustainable position for future catches, will now cause unnecessary loss for the north east fish catching and processing sector.”
The Councillor said that the position created by Iceland and Faroe meant an uncontrolled fishery as time went on and an increasing risk of stock problems.
“I understand that has lead to the notification of the suspension and possible eventual withdrawal of the certification if the management going forward is not resolved and stocks are managed within internationally agreed sustainable limits in a management plan.”
Cllr Johnston said the concern for Aberdeenshire Council should be what impact this would have on existing catching and processing.
“MSC certification loss requires substantial system and pack changes as well as potential loss of markets for what is currently a sustainable source of fish. Aberdeenshire Council should get a clear picture of what effect the loss would have and lobby where we can to get a resolution before the March 30th deadline arrives and it cannot be sold with the value MSC Label of sustainability.”
Cllr Johnston has asked Aberdeenshire Council Head of Economic Development Belinda Miller, to investigate.
The suspension is not the same as a certificate withdrawal as suspended certificates can be re-instated on completion of a condition and with no need for a new Full Assessment of the fishery. Any fish caught before the 30th March deadline may still bear the MSC ecolabel provided they comply with MSC Chain of Custody requirements for traceability and separation.
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