Southern Newfoundland cod fishery achieves Marine Stewardship Council ecocertification | WWF-Canada

Southern Newfoundland cod fishery achieves Marine Stewardship Council ecocertification

Posted on 22 March 2016
Houses and fishing boats surround the harbour in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, Canada
© Alyssa Bistonath / WWF-Canada
St. John’s, March 22, 2016 – A southern Newfoundland cod fishery has gained Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, it was announced today, demonstrating that it is possible for struggling fish stocks to recover and reach sustainability benchmarks that benefit both nature and communities.
The MSC certification of the southern Newfoundland cod fishery – known by its Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Subdivision of 3Ps – comes after the successful completion of a WWF led Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) in partnership with Icewater Seafoods Inc. The FIP was a collaborative project that included partners from industry, governments and NGOs, and was designed to improve the health of the fishery so it could enter into the independent MSC certification process.
Quote from David Miller, WWF-Canada’s president and CEO
“WWF-Canada is proud to have played a part in helping the 3Ps cod fishery reach the MSC standard. As the world’s best standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries, the MSC certification is a tremendous achievement that shows how collaboration across sectors can improve the health of fish stocks and benefit the communities that depend on them.”
Quote from Alberto Wareham, CEO of Icewater Seafoods
“Newfoundland fisheries have a long, rich history, and operating them sustainably means local communities can remain vibrant and competitive over the long term. The MSC certification is excellent news for our clients too, as it offers them the assurance that they are investing in the future of Newfoundland by choosing responsibly sourced seafood."
About the southern Newfoundland 3Ps cod fishery
  • The 3Ps cod fishery is located off the southern coast of Newfoundland.
  • While some Atlantic Canadian cod fisheries are still recovering from low levels, promising stock growth saw a small commercial fishery open in the 3Ps management zone in 1997.
  • In 2011, WWF and Icewater Seafoods Inc. initiated a Fishery Improvement Project for the 3Ps cod fishery to help the stock rebuild. Ocean Choice International; The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW); Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (DFA) also supported the FIP.
  • After three continuous years of positive stock assessments, the fishery entered into assessment against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard for sustainable fisheries in March 2014.
  • The 3Ps cod fishery gained MSC certification on March 22, 2016.
  • The 3Ps fishery will provide a small volume of Canadian MSC-certified cod to markets in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Community-led Northern Cod Fishery Improvement Project 
  • In April 2015, WWF-Canada started a 2nd FIP in the region on the northern cod fishery co-led with the FFAW
  • The northern cod stock, referred to by its NAFO Divisions 2J3KL, has increased considerably since 2006, a trend that WWF expects will continue if ecosystem conditions persist and a precautionary approach to fisheries management continues to be taken.
About the Marine Stewardship Council
  • The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) runs the only wild-capture fisheries certification and ecolabeling program that meets best practice requirements set by both the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and ISEAL, the global membership association for sustainability standards.
  • MSC certified fisheries are reviewed annually and re-certified every five years.  MSC Standards and scheme requirements are also reviewed regularly.
  • To achieve the MSC Fisheries Standard, fisheries that voluntarily enter into independent, third-party assessment must meet 28 performance indicators for sustainability across three principles: 1) Sustainable fish stocks; 2) Minimizing environmental impacts; and 3) Effective management.
  • To be part of the supply chain for MSC certified seafood, processors, retailers and restaurants must comply with the MSC Chain of Custody Standard. The MSC Chain of Custody Standard ensures that MSC certified seafood is not mixed with uncertified product and can be traced back to a certified fishery.
  • MSC plays a vital role in helping to improve the health of the world’s oceans:
    • Each year, close to nine million tons of seafood (about 10 per cent of all wild-caught seafood) comes from fisheries engaged in the MSC program.
    • Since 1999, more than 280 fisheries around the world have earned MSC certification as sustainable and well-managed.
About sustainable seafood
  • One of the biggest threats to healthy ocean ecosystems is the demand for and procurement of unsustainable seafood.
  • WWF believes that with the right kind of management and partnerships in place, fisheries and the communities that depend on them will continue to thrive.
  • WWF is committed to supporting the Marine Stewardship Council and its ongoing efforts to recognize and reward leaders within the fishing industry and seafood sector who are addressing the problem of unsustainable fishing to help create a more sustainable seafood market and safeguard seafood supplies for the future.
About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that wildlife, nature and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more info visit
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Houses and fishing boats surround the harbour in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, Canada
© Alyssa Bistonath / WWF-Canada Enlarge