> Scottish Fisherman’s Federation Compares New Haddock Sustainability Rating to Vandalism - The Food Safety Company Scottish Fisherman’s Federation Compares New Haddock Sustainability Rating to Vandalism - The Food Safety Company
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    Tuesday, 21 March 2017

    Scottish Fisherman’s Federation Compares New Haddock Sustainability Rating to Vandalism

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    Last week, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) announced that due to reports of low stock levels, haddock had been downgraded in its sustainability rating. Two fisheries saw the status downgraded from ‘Grade 2: Fish to eat’ to ‘Grade 4: Should not be considered sustainable and the fish is likely to have significant environmental issues associated with its production’. A third was reduced to ‘Grade 3: Eat only occasionally’.

    However, the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation (SFF) are fighting back against the new rating, which they claim is not scientifically based and basically amounts to vandalism.

    The MCS makes their assessment based on findings produced by the International Council of Exploration of the Sea (ICES). ICES reported in November of last year that the fishing of haddock in the North Sea and Western Scotland must be reduced by a massive 47% from the previous year if the fish was to maintain its ‘sustainable’ label.

    However, the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation have asserted that the MCS are spreading “false and misleading” information, as Bertie Armstrong, Chief Executive of SFF, told Food Navigator:

    “We are really disappointed with this. From the top there is a defect in the logic of these guides and it’s a perversity because as a fish stock the North Sea haddock is a wonderful example for which good science is available.

    “The consumer may now say well I’m not going to buy that and the retailer no longer stocks it or throws it away after it’s already been sustainably caught and then the lights go out in coastal fishing communities. This could actually have an adverse effect on an industry which is doing its damnedest to really be sustainable. We are seriously unhappy.

    “THE MCS’ reasoning sounds plausible but it doesn’t bear any logical explanation. Several years ago they did the same thing with mackerel and a few years before that they did it with monk fish. They aren’t Scientists. It’s light work advocacy thinly disguised as science, and this is the equivalent of irresponsible vandalism.

    “They should apologise and retract this because it could do a lot of damage to communities.”

    Following the attack on the new rating by the SFF, Food Navigator reached out to MSC for a reaction. Sarah Lahert, public relation manager at MSC, responded with the following:

    “The Scottish North Sea haddock fishery is still MSC certified due to the strong management they have in place to deal with changing stocks, The Scottish haddock fisherman have already worked with the government to set lower quotas in response to the latest scientific advice. In fact, they’ve set their catches even lower than the recommendations. It’s a bold move to protect the haddock stock for the long term. This is a great example of a responsible reactive management responding to fluctuations in stock status and that’s exactly what MSC certification is about: long-term sustainability. You can still choose MSC certified Scottish haddock for your Friday night fish and chips with a clean conscience.”

    Despite the efforts of the SFF, I wouldn’t expect the MSC to back down on this one.


    Sam Bonson

    Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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    Item Reviewed: Scottish Fisherman’s Federation Compares New Haddock Sustainability Rating to Vandalism Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Food Safety Co
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