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MSC blue seal sardines. (Photo: MSC)

MSC certified sardine 'enjoys good health and is sustainable'

  (SPAIN, 11/7/2017)

Following the latest news on the worrying state of the Iberian sardine, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) clarifies that there are different sardine stocks in the Atlantic Ocean, and that the consumption of sardines with MSC blue seal is sustainable and responsible, since it is a different stock from the Iberian sardine that is on the verge of collapse.

According to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the sardine population that lives on the Spanish and Portuguese coasts, known as Iberian sardine, is on the verge of collapse. However, the MSC certified sardine is not caught on the Spanish coast or on the Portuguese coast, but on the French coast of the Bay of Biscay, and this population is in good health.

In January 2017, and after two and a half years’ assessment, 57 purse seiners achieved the MSC certification of sustainable fishing for sardine fishing. The boats belong to the federation of fishermen’s association of Guipúzcoa and Biscay, in the Basque Country, and to the association of San Martín de Laredo, in Cantabria. It was the third certification of this fleet after the anchovy and northern albacore.

"After the end of the northern albacore season, our fishermen started the sardine fishing season in area VIII b (French coast of the Bay of Biscay) at the end of October. This sardine stock, unlike the Iberian sardine, is in good health, as it is managed in a sustainable manner as certified by MSC. For this reason, we invite consumers to enjoy this healthy product," explains Miren Garmendia, the director of the Coastal Fishing Producers' Organization of Guipúzcoa (OPEGUI).

"The MSC blue seal allows the consumer to recognize in a simple way that the sardine comes from a population in good condition and managed in a sustainable manner. The consumption of fish with this eco-label supports the best fishing practices and contributes to keeping fishing resources for future generations", says Laura Rodríguez, the director of the MSC program in Spain and Portugal.

Related article:

ICES recommends full ban on sardines

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