Canadian Industry Partnership Obtains Important MSC Sustainability Certification for Greenland Halibut (Turbot) Fishery

Canadian Industry Partnership Obtains Important MSC Sustainability Certification for Greenland Halibut (Turbot) Fishery

Certification means greater market access & benefits for Canada’s Atlantic and Arctic fisheries

Dec 5, 2019 – St. John’s, NL, Canada – Today, four leading Canadian industry associations, together with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), announced that products from the Canadian Greenland Halibut (Turbot) Fishery in Fishing Areas 0AB2J3KLMNO can now bear the MSC label that identifies sustainable, well managed fisheries from across the world.

“Obtaining this MSC certification is a testament to the cooperation and collaboration among the four associations and the producers and/or harvesters they represent or buy from,” said Kris Vascotto, Executive Director of the Atlantic Groundfish Council. “We are united by a shared vision of a long-term, sustainable and prosperous fishery for all. The tangible benefit of this certification shows that when industry participants work together, everyone benefits. Such benefits underpin the Atlantic Groundfish Council’s efforts to increase collaboration across the fishing industry as a whole.”

The sustainability certification applies to Greenland halibut harvested by trawl or gillnet from areas extending from the Northeast coast of Nunavut, along the east coast of Labrador and Newfoundland, as far as south as the Grand Banks (see map below).

Combined, these fisheries account for about 21,500 mt of Greenland halibut quota harvested by Canadian enterprises, including Indigenous, inshore, midshore, and offshore fishers.

“This is exciting and positive news for the Canadian fishing industry. Canadian Greenland halibut finds a home in selective European and Asian markets where customers are increasingly conscious of the origins of the food on their plate. These customers demand that their seafood is sustainably and responsibly sourced,” explained Alastair O’Rielly, Executive Director of the Northern Coalition. “Securing MSC sustainability certification ensures accessibility and competitiveness in discerning global markets.”

MSC is the most globally recognized program for wild sustainable seafood and meets the highest international guidelines for credible certification and ecolabelling programs. The rigorous 18-month assessment scrutinized all aspects of the fishery to ensure they comply with internationally accepted sustainability principles for management, bycatch and habitat.

“With more and more Canadian seafood becoming MSC certified, it not only signals to global markets that the Canadian fishing industry can meet their requirements, but also that we share their values in terms of sustainably harvested wild seafood,” added Brian Burke, Executive Director of the Nunavut Fisheries Association. “As a 100% Inuit-owned association, respect for sustainable use of our marine resources is paramount to our members. The commitment to ensure a sustainable fishery is shared by the four associations behind this effort.”

“As the client for the first MSC-certified fishery in Canada for northern shrimp, shared now with other industry partners, we have here another example of strong collaboration. My hat’s off to my industry colleagues and their members for seeing the value in both sustainable fisheries and working together,” added Derek Butler, Executive Director of the Association of Seafood Producers.

The MSC sustainability certification is effective immediately.


About Nunavut Fisheries Association
NFA is a not for profit corporation established to present a united voice for Nunavut’s commercial fishing industry to regulatory agencies at the territorial and federal levels. Its current membership consists of four Inuit owned companies which hold 100% of the commercial allocations of Greenland halibut (turbot) and shrimp managed through the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB). These companies, the Arctic Fishery Alliance (AFA), Baffin Fisheries (BF), Pangnirtung Fisheries/Cumberland Sound Fisheries Partnership (PFL/CSFL), and Qikiqtaaluk Corporation (QC), are owned by the HTOs, communities, and/or Inuit of the Qikiqtani region.

t Atlantic Groundfish Council
The Atlantic Groundfish Council is a non-profit industry association representing the year-round groundfish harvesters in Atlantic Canada. AGC contributes to research that will improve the sustainability and management of groundfish fisheries by actively supporting science, sustainability certifications and responsible management.

About Northern Coalition Corporation
Northern Coalition Corporation is a federally incorporated non-profit organization, consisting of six social enterprise corporations that are either indigenous birthright corporations, pursuant to respective Inuit land claim agreements in Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut, or community-based organizations owned predominantly by aboriginal residents in Labrador. Northern Coalition members are deeply committed to ensuring that adjacent marine resources are responsibly and sustainably managed and that the sensitive Arctic Marine ecosystem is appropriately protected.

About the Association of Seafood Producers
The Association of Seafood Producers is a not-for-profit industry trade association representing seafood processors in Newfoundland and Labrador. ASP works for the betterment of the industry in the areas of public policy, sustainability and fisheries management.

About the MSC

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organization. Our vision is for the world’s oceans to be teeming with life, and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations. Our ecolabel and certification program recognizes and rewards sustainable fishing practices and is helping create a more sustainable seafood market. The MSC ecolabel on a seafood product means that:

  • It comes from a wild-catch fishery that has been independently certified to the MSC science-based standard for environmentally sustainable fishing
  • It’s fully traceable to a sustainable source

More than 360 fisheries in over 36 countries are certified to the MSC Standard. These fisheries have a combined annual seafood production of over 11 million metric tonnes, representing almost 15% of global marine catch. More than 38,000 seafood products worldwide carry the MSC label. For more information visit The MSC program could not exist without the many fishers around the world who work to safeguard stocks, ecosystems and their own livelihoods.

Map showing certification area
The MSC Sustainability Certificate for Greenland halibut (Turbot) includes NAFO areas 0A, 0B and 2+3KLMNO

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