First Chinese fishery enters Marine Stewardship Council assessment

First Chinese fishery enters Marine Stewardship Council assessment

The Zhangzidao scallop fishery has become the first Chinese fishery to enter full assessment for Marine Stewardship Council certification.

Independent certification body, Moody Marine Ltd, will evaluate the fishery against the Marine Stewardship Council environmental standard for well-managed and sustainable fisheries. This standard examines the sustainability of the target fish stock, the environmental impact of fishing operations and the management and governance systems that are in place.
Found in the North Yellow Sea, the fishery is managed by Dalian Zhangzidao Fishery Group. It uses diving and dredging methods to produce 60,000mt of yesso scallops each year, with fresh products sold predominantly on the domestic market and also in Korea, and frozen products sold in North America and Australia.

The assessment will cover the fishery’s year-round dive and dredge harvesting operations, as well as their wild spat collection and reared spat operations. The assessment is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

What the fishers say

Mr Wu Hou Gang, Dalian Zhangzidao Fishery Group’s Chairman of the Board, says: “Unsustainable fishing practices are undoubtedly having detrimental effects on the marine environment, and increasingly this is in the minds of consumers and buyers of seafood looking for a sustainable option.”

“As such, the sustainability of our fishing operations is a core concern for the Dalian Zhangzidao Fishery Group, and we currently have management measures in place in our fisheries to help protect the marine environment. Our dive harvesting methods have very little impact on the surrounding ecosystem, and we regularly upgrade our dredging equipment to minimise the impact on the benthic environment. Only this year, at the Summer Davos meeting in Dalian, the organisation was selected from more than 10 million companies from across the globe as being in the top 16 leaders in sustainable development.”

“We see MSC certification as an integral part of proving the sustainability of our fishing operations, as it is widely considered the world’s most rigorous and scientifically-based certification scheme for wild-caught and enhanced fisheries. Increasingly markets around the world are seeking MSC certified seafood and, if we are successful in gaining certification, we see the MSC ecolabel enhancing our brand, and opening up new markets,” Wu Hou Gang concludes.

MSC welcomes China’s first fishery into program

Patrick Caleo, MSC Manager ANZ, welcomes the fishery into the MSC assessment process saying: “The MSC is excited about having the first Chinese fishery enter the MSC assessment process. As the world’s largest producer and consumer of seafood products, Chinese fisheries have a key role to play in the development of a sustainable global seafood industry. China has seen a dramatic increase in per capita seafood consumption in recent years and the leadership shown by the Zhangzidao scallop fishery in trying to demonstrate its sustainability credentials to the world should be applauded.”

“We wish the fishery well in its endeavours to achieve MSC certification, and if successful, believe their yesso scallops will see high demand. We hope the actions of the Zhangzidao scallop fishery in seeking MSC certification will encourage other Chinese fisheries to do the same,” Caleo says.

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