The Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group

The Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group (SPSG) - representing all sectors of Scotland’s pelagic industry, from catching and processing, to marketing - has been recently established specifically to oversee the certification of North Sea herring and Western mackerel as sustainable to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard. To achieve MSC certification, the fisheries must have proven traceability and be sustainable with a totally transparent supply chain.

The group has contracted Food Certification International, in association with Nautilus, to undertake the assessment of these two fisheries. Crick Carleton of Nautilus Consultants will head up the assessment team, supported by Dr Paul Medley, fishery resource specialist, and Tristan Southall, fish industry and marine environmental specialist. Martin Gill and Melissa Macfadden from Food Certification International will manage and coordinate the assessment

The North Sea herring and Western mackerel fisheries will be the first major pelagic tank vessel fisheries in the world to be certified as well-managed and sustainable, and it is hoped that such an achievement will increase the marketing opportunities for the Scottish pelagic industry. These two fisheries constitute the two largest fisheries in the UK - both in terms of tonnage and value.

The group recognises the fact that buyers are becoming more demanding and vigilant and will seek out food that has been assured sustainable. The SPSG was set up in response to these demands. Also recently confirmed is FCI’s appointment as the certification body for the full MSC assessment of the North Sea herring and Western mackerel fisheries on behalf of the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group.