Scotland’s North Sea haddock fishers have proved their conservation credentials again to earn a renewal of their much-prized Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification.
Each certificate lasts five years and the haddock fishery scored well on its latest reassessment.
North Sea haddock is caught by about 200 Scottish fishing boats.
It was originally certified by the MSC, which had become the standard-bearer for responsible fishing, in 2010.
All three areas of improvement requested, including trials of new fishing gear to reduce the bycatch of cod and real-time closures to protect juvenile fish, were completed within the first two years of the original certification.
Although cod is the staple ingredient of fish and chips south of the border, Scots tend to prefer haddock.
Landings of haddock – Scotland’s most valuable white-fish species, were worth £42million in 2014.
An independent study commissioned by the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) showed “clear qualitative and quantitative evidence that MSC certification has both maintained market share for North Sea haddock and opened up new markets.”
SFSAG chairman Mike Park said: “Re-certification of Scottish North Sea haddock is a welcome boost at a time when Scottish fishermen have committed to certifying as many stocks as possible in the coming years.
“Haddock is an important fishery for the Scottish fleet, landing over 90% of the total EU allocation.”