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Why a tin of sustainable sardines feels like a Christmas present

When asked to write a Christmas blog post, George Clark initially struggled to think of a theme that related both to the work of the MSC and the festive season. In the end, it was actually quite simple…
Bart van Olphen and George Clark from MSC visit Cornwall

The MSC has been setting standards for sustainable fishing for over 15 years now. Fisheries can verify that they operate sustainably, and consumers can choose their fish and seafood on that basis.

So I thought let’s link Christmas to the ‘principle product’ of our work: labelled, certified fish to eat. Though I work in the UK where fish isn’t traditionally part of the Christmas menu, many countries do celebrate with seafood delicacies. If we take a more international view, there are plenty of fantastic and Christmassy fish products available with the MSC ecolabel: smoked salmon, lobster, caviar, herring, the list goes on…

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Traditional and sustainable: Sweden’s Caviar of Kalix

by Charlott Stenberg
Charlott Sternberg visits Sweden's MSC certified vendace fishery, producers of the famous "Caviar of Kalix".
ce fishermen emptying nets

Sweden’s Bothnian Bay vendace fishery, which produces the renowned Kalix löjrom (Caviar of Kalix), was MSC certified in June 2015. Fishing take place only five weeks a year, so I took the opportunity to visit the fishery in action during September. This was my first visit to a certified fishery, and I was amazed by the fishermen’s focus on sustainability.

The “red gold” Kalix löjrom is famous throughout Sweden and the Baltic region. Due to the uniqueness of its colour and flavour, the region’s special roe holds the status of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), much like Champagne or Parma ham.

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Bycatch in Brazil: Collaborating for more sustainable fishing

by Fanny Vessaz
MSC Scholarship recipient Fanny Vessaz on collaborating with fisheries to deal with bycatch issues.
Brazilian beach with fishermen, small boat and birds in the sky

Fanny Vessaz is an MSc graduate of marine biodiversity and conservation from the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil. She was a recipient of one of our MSC scholarship program grants in 2014. Her research involved assessing bycatch reduction devices in the southern Brazilian artisanal seabob shrimp trawl fishery. Here she reports on the importance of collaboration and why bycatch is a complex topic where fishing communities’ voices need to be heard.

Brazil is a highly diverse country, and its fisheries are similarly varied. Even among small-scale shrimp fisheries, the methods used can differ drastically, but regulations covering them don’t. Over the course of this year, I have been exploring the dynamics of a small-scale shrimp trawl fishery in southern Brazil and examining the issue of bycatch (the unintentional catching of marine animals that are not a fishery’s target species).

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Maintaining marine life in the Antarctic region

MSC Fisheries Manager, Bill Holden talks about the collaborative stewardship of krill fisheries.
Krill fishing vessel on sea in front of icey mountains, Antarctica

MSC Senior Fisheries Manager, Bill Holden, recently spoke during the 34th Meeting of the commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Here, he shares his thoughts from the talk, which focussed on the importance of good stewardship and the roles that fisheries, governments and CCAMLR all play in maintaining marine life in the Antarctic region.

The pristine areas of the Southern Ocean and Antarctic region are teeming with life yet vulnerable to the effects of climate change and overfishing. In the face of these competing commercial and environmental interests, effective stewardship is essential to maintaining the region’s rich biodiversity.

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Krill, fishing and penguins

Dr David Agnew of the Marine Stewardship Council asks is krill fishing in the Antarctic damaging penguin populations?
gentoo-penguins

Krill, a tiny shrimp-like creature commonly used in fish oil supplements due to its high ‘Omega 3’ oil content, has been the subject of considerable discussion in environmental circles. I’ve talked before about why there won’t be a sudden expansion of the krill fishery and today I’d like to address a different issue: is krill fishing harming penguin populations? The suggestion that krill fishing is damaging krill and penguin populations in the Antarctic should be taken very seriously and is a topic I feel it is important to address.

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