The ISF has regained its lost MSC certification Photo: MSCThe ISF has regained its lost MSC certification Photo: MSC

A small-scale lumpfish fishery based in Iceland has regained Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, after making the necessary improvements to meet the standard for sustainable fishing.

The Icelandic Sustainable Fishery (ISF) was globally the first lumpfish fishery to meet the MSC standard. However, the initial certificate was suspended in 2017 when the annual audit revealed bycatch issues.

Gísli Gíslason, MSC senior program manager in N-Atlantic, said, “This comeback of the Icelandic lumpfish fishery confirms once again the effective fishery client setup, where ISF and its members successfully engage together with stakeholders and management authorities and deliver the needed improvements.

“I congratulate ISF, the Icelandic lumpfish industry and everyone involved for this achievement,” he added.

A series of initiatives have been implemented to reduce bycatch, including closure of fishing areas, hunting bans and increased observer capacity. All logbook registration in the Icelandic catching sector is now mandatorily digital and online and there is ongoing research on using a pinger to prevent unwanted bycatch getting entangled in nets.

Implementing these new management measures has demonstrated that the fishery now meets the MSC Fishery Standard requirements on minimising impact on the marine environment. However, certification is conditional on the gill-net fishery showing it has reduced bycatches further within the next five years.

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