The first MSC certified monkfish will soon be available to UK fish and chip shops after the Iceland Sustainable Fisheries (ISF) monkfish fishery gained certification.
It is the only fishery for this species to be certified and is the eighth occasion where ISF have been the first to have a new species certified in the MSC program.
Currently all pelagic fisheries in Iceland and over 90% (by volume) of all landings are certified.
ISF was set up in 2012 to be the fishery client group for the Icelandic seafood industry. The group aims to gain MSC certification for all Icelandic fish stocks and now counts over 50 membership companies.
The UK is the most important market for monkfish, taking over 60% of the export and about 70% of the total export is sold as fresh (tails). Other important markets for Icelandic monkfish are Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, France and Benelux.
Kristinn Hjálmarsson, project manager of ISF, says: “We are proud that monkfish is the latest addition to our MSC certified fisheries. The catch quantity is not much - only 853 tons this fishing year - which makes the cost of certification expensive per ton. However, that does not change the fact that we want to be sustainable. Size doesn't matter and neither does quantity. Hopefully, consumers will appreciate the effort to bring large and small quantity species from sustainable sources to their plate.”
Gísli Gíslason the MSC senior programme manager in Iceland, Faroe and Greenland, added: “Iceland is becoming one of countries with the highest number of certified fisheries. This has only been possible due to strong industry, science, management and the leadership of the fishery client ISF. One could almost conclude that if the product is Icelandic in origin then it comes from an MSC certified fishery.”