Iceland Adds World’s 1st MSC Certified Tusk, Wolf Fish & Blue Ling To Its Portfolio
by Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Posted: 2017-10-12 16:01:43 EST

Iceland Sustainable Fisheries has added to its growing portfolio of world firsts with MSC certified tusk (Brosme brosme), wolf fish (Anarhichas lupus) and blue ling (Molva dipterygia) fisheries. It has also added Iceland’s first MSC certified plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) fishery, significantly improving the supply of MSC certified plaice to the UK.

Gisli Gislason, MSC Senior Program manager in Iceland, explained: “This is great news for seafood connoisseurs. Iceland has already contributed some beautiful, MSC certified fish to our menus and the arrival of tusk and wolf fish will be of particular interest.”

The new fisheries were added through the MSC ‘P2-P1’ expedited audit process where fish that are caught as secondary catches (eg in a mixed fishery) can be MSC certified following a detailed stock assessment. The environmental impact and management assessments have already been completed in earlier certifications. Over the past few years, ISF has grown its portfolio of MSC certified sustainable species with Icelandic now offering one of the most diverse ranges of MSC certified sustainable species in the world.

Kristinn Hjálmarsson, the ISF Project manager says: “It is important to us to be recognized as a sustainable fishing nation. We would really like for consumers to know that if dinner is Icelandic fish, it comes for a sustainable source. The expedited audit is an excellent option to extend the scope of existing certificates. The scope is extended to cover species who are caught and retained anyway.

The four species included in this assessment and certification have a relatively low annual landing quantity, compared to other ISF certified fisheries. So, it had a really cost-effective rationale to extend scope, rather than apply for a full separate assessment of each specie. Since we want all our fisheries to MSC certified, as possible, the expedited audit makes good economic sense when applying for certification of low quantity species.”

Gisli Gislason, MSC Senior Program manager in Iceland, Faroe and Greenland explained: “ISF is becoming one of the larger fishery clients within the MSC program and has been a pioneer with 6 new species certified. These include golden redfish, capelin, ling, tusk, blue ling and lumpfish. Anglerfish are in full assessment and upon completion we hope it will be the 7th world first by ISF.

The setup by ISF with open membership access, has proven to work well: each member pays a monthly fee to the organization and product from the certified fishery first becomes MSC eligible in the market when sold or traded via one of the ISF members. The ISF fishery certification against the MSC fishery standard has also confirmed that overall the Icelandic fishery management is one of the best in the world.”

Icelandic tusk

Tusk – also known as torsk – is a cod-type fish, with firm white flesh. It grows to 40-90cm long and catches have been stable around Iceland for nearly 70 years. Much of Iceland’s Tusk is exported to Europe mainly Italy, French and Germany, but it is also dried and exported to Nigeria.

Icelandic wolf fish

Wolf fish, also known as Atlantic catfish is a large, long fish usually around 50-90cm long. It is caught all round Iceland but most commonly to the west of the island. It has a wide range and has been caught as far north as Murmansk and as far south as the English Channel. It is popular fried or battered for fish and chips. Most of it is sold to Europe where biggest markets are in French, UK, Germany and Holland.

Icelandic blue ling

Blue ling is a long, thin fish from 70-110 cm long. It prefers deep waters from 130m to 1,500 metres deep. Blue ling is mostly caught as a retained bycatch species in the Icelandic redfish fishery and more than half of the catches are exported to Europe including Germany, Spain and Italy

Icelandic plaice

Plaice is a medium-sized flatfish, easily recognised by its brown skin with orange spots. Popular in the UK’s fish and chip shops and restaurants. The majority of Iceland’s plaice catch is exported to the UK but also to USA, Denmark, French, Holland, Germany and Sweden.

Source: Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)