The Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group (SPSG) was established in 2006 and represents all sectors of Scotland’s pelagic industry, including catching, processing and marketing. SPSG was established to oversee the certification of its main fisheries to the Marine Stewardship Council eco-label standard and is currently driving forward a number of other sustainability initiatives. The over-riding aim of SPSG is to ensure that the Scottish pelagic industry is truly sustainable.
Since its inception, 98% of the group’s stocks have been certified as sustainable and well managed by the MSC. The North Sea herring fishery was the first fishery to be certified in 2008. This was closely followed by the certification of the NE Atlantic mackerel fishery in 2009. Also now part of the MSC programme are West of Scotland herring, Atlanto Scandian herring and blue whiting.
As well as the MSC programme, SPSG is involved in a range of scientific initiatives to enhance our understanding of pelagic stocks and to ensure informed decisions are made with their management. To aid this process, we have appointed a Chief Scientific Officer to co-ordinate a range marine science projects. As well as catch data, pelagic vessels are also currently being used as the platform to gather an array of information by other means, including acoustic surveys and egg surveys.
Oily fish such as mackerel and herring are an incredibly important sustainable and nutritious food resource and SPSG is keen to highlight to consumers the responsible fishing methods used in their harvesting. The pelagic sector supports many jobs and is a significant contributor to the Scottish economy.
SPSG is funded by the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association Ltd, Scottish Pelagic Fish Processors Association Ltd, Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation Ltd, Shetland Fish Producers’ Organisation Ltd, Interfish Fish Producers’ Organisation Ltd, Klondyke Fish Producers’ Organisation Ltd and Lunar Fish Producers’ Organisation Ltd.