MSC certified Scottish haddock supplies improve with new certification

Fish and chip shops and restaurants should find it much easier to source certified sustainable Scottish haddock following a move by the Scottish Seafood Association (SSA) earlier this year. Members of the SSA have worked together in a bid to increase the supply of MSC certified Scottish seafood throughout the UK supply chain and meet the growing demand for sustainable seafood.

The first four members to gain certification under the MSC’s Group Chain of Custody scheme were, Colin Fraser Ltd, G&J Jack Seafoods Fraserburgh Ltd, R W Henderson Ltd and Sustainable Seafoods Peterhead Ltd, who are now able to supply MSC certified haddock, saithe and mackerel, as well as other MSC certified species.

David Leiper, Chairman of SSA, said: “Receiving MSC certification for SSA is a fantastic thing and it just shows that the industry is moving forward and becoming more sustainable. It shows what SSA offers. The group scheme allows the smaller businesses to have the opportunity to offer MSC certified fish. Michael Bates, SSA Project Manager, did incredible work bringing everything together for the group. It’s a really positive step forward for the industry in Scotland. It’s fantastic news.”

Supply to meet the demand
The move by the SSA comes in response to a high demand for the supply of MSC certified Scottish haddock. It will provide a way for small and medium sized processors – who supply smaller businesses, particularly the fish and chip shop sector – to benefit from MSC Chain of Custody certification through a cheaper group-certification model. As a result, it will now be much easier for these smaller businesses to source MSC certified Scottish fish.

Karen Whiteside, Colin Fraser Ltd, said: “We’re delighted to receive MSC certification and be recognised as processors of sustainable seafood. Our customers want MSC certified fish, so we’ve worked hard to make it available and we’re really pleased we can now offer it and meet our customer’s needs. We look forward to the market opportunities this will also open.”

Craig Henderson, R W Henderson Ltd, said: “Clients have requested MSC certified fish from us. MSC certification will help us with future clients. Previously, we were unable to supply MSC certified species to the fish and chip shop sector but now this is an area we are able, and would like, to get into. We plan to supply directly now and cut out the middleman. We will process coley (saithe) and haddock, however in future there is scope for a lot more species to be added.”

Claire Pescod, UK & Ireland Fisheries Outreach Manager, added: “It’s great to see the SSA help their members achieve MSC certification and meet the growing demand for sustainable seafood. We set up the Group scheme to provide a more cost effective way for a number of organisations to join forces and benefit from economies of scale. I hope we’ll see many more SSA members taking advantage of it over the coming months. I’m looking forward to seeing more MSC certified Scottish haddock and saithe available to buy in UK fish and chip shops and restaurants.”

The group
Established in 2011, SSA is the national representative body for the Scottish seafood processing and trading sectors. The SSA group certification, funded by the Scottish Seafood Partnership, covers four processors and is likely to expand to include more SSA members in the future. The processors certified are:
• Colin Fraser Ltd, Aberdeen
• G & J Jack Seafoods, Fraserburgh
• Charles & Caie
• Noble Brothers (FR) Ltd
• Nolan Seafood (UK) Ltd
• R W Henderson Ltd, Aberdeen
• Seafood Sourcing Ltd
• Sustainable Seafoods Peterhead Ltd
• The Amity Fish Co Limited
• The Firm of William Mitchell
Alan Pirie, Sustainable Seafoods Peterhead Ltd, said: “From day one, we’ve always been committed to sustainable fish sourcing and this provides assurance through full traceability of the MSC species. 80% of what we process is Scottish haddock and clients have indicated their preference to have MSC certified fish, so it’s great to be able to meet this demand. This will strengthen the company and hopefully add sales as we go.”

Martin Jack, G & J Jack Seafoods Fraserburgh Ltd, said: “We’re very happy to receive MSC certification. Our family has been in the fishing industry for over 100 years and we are proud to be able to take this next step through SSA. We are committed to sustainable seafood sourcing and this will open up market opportunities to supply MSC certified fish into the UK supply chain.”

The SSA group certification was funded by Seafood Scotland via the Scottish Seafood Partnership. The Scottish Seafood Partnership was established in 2012 with the aim of adding value to all seafood products from ocean to plate and to promote sustainable profitability of the seafood sector. Without their support and funding this would not have been possible. Clare MacDougall, Trade Marketing Manager at Seafood Scotland, and project manager for the Scottish Seafood Partnership (SSP), said: “We are delighted to have funded the MSC Chain of Custody programme through SSP. It’s a great achievement and shows the high standards this group of companies has achieved, and is representative of a large section of the seafood sector in Scotland. With each business depending on the other to maintain standards, the potential for further collaboration is huge, and their partnership sends a strong sustainability message to the sector.”

• Caption from left: Robert Henderson, Michael Bates, Reiss Fraser, David Leiper, Colin Fraser, Derek Hutchins, Jason Jack, Alan Pirie, Norman Davidson and Claire Pescod