MSC as a certification standard
It is important for Royal Greenland that our fisheries are managed sustainably. A part of this work is the certification through the acknowledged MSC.
A fishery can easily be sustainably managed and fished even though it has not been certified through a third-party. The certification process is both costly and demanding for all parties involved and, in the end, it places increased expenses on both suppliers and fishers. This is because a smaller part of the revenue from a certified fishery is paid in license fee to the organisation granting the certification. Therefore, fishermen and processors within a specific fishery usually choose only to certify a fishery if there is a market demand or there is a need for improved fishery management, which a certification can contribute to.
Today, MSC certification is demanded internationally
The work with certifying fisheries, as it is known from for example forestry (FSC), began in the 1990s. Several different actors offered certification schemes, and today the MSC standard is market-leading and recognised by professional buyers. For retail customers, MSC certified products are often in demand, because the blue seal is a recognition that the product is fished and managed sustainably. For suppliers and processors, MSC certified products thus provide easier market access.
The principles behind MSC certification
The MSC certification is based on three principles; the regulation and performance of target species and fisheries, the impact fisheries have on the environment and the national management of fishery resources.
It is a long process to certify a fishery. Even if all the standard requirements are met in advance, it takes at least a year. Often the management or fishery must adapt within one or more requirements. There is a total of 28 requirements divided into the three principles and each topic or requirement must achieve a minimum score of 80 to pass. If a fishery scores less than 80 but more than 60 in each of the requirements, an obligation or condition is assigned, which must be met within 4 years. In addition, each of the three principles must, on average, achieve a score of 80 for all measuring points for the fishery to achieve certification.
Royal Greenland's certification status
In 2019, Royal Greenland's MSC share of raw materials were estimated to make up 56% of the total raw material volume. There are many different species and products, which are based on MSC raw materials, both from our own fisheries and raw materials purchased worldwide.
In Greenland, Royal Greenland works with other fishing companies and purchasers towards MSC certification of the most important fisheries. The collaboration takes place in the association Sustainable Fisheries Greenland (SFG), and so far, the following certifications have been completed:
Fishery improvement projects – FIP
Prior to achieving an actual MSC certification, it often happens that certain changes must be made in the management, just as a significant amount of documentation must be provided about the fishery. It may be that the fishery advice and -guidance need adaptation or that studies must be carried out to document the extent of by-catch and the impact on the seabed. In order to systematise this process, a so-called Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) is often launched, which structures the initiatives and, together with fishermen, researchers and authorities, addresses the shortcomings and challenges that may exist.
Royal Greenland is currently involved in three FIP projects:
- The lobster fishery in Newfoundland
- The coastal fishery for Greenland halibut in West Greenland
- The snow crab fishery in West Greenland
The progress of the FIP project in Newfoundland can be followed at www.fisheryprogress.org.
The progress of the projects in Greenland is monitored through Sustainable Fisheries Greenland www.sfg.gl.