The Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group (SPSG) was established in 2007 and represents all sectors of Scotland’s pelagic industry, from catching and processing, to marketing. It was established specifically to oversee the sustainable certification of North Sea herring and NE Atlantic mackerel to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard. To achieve MSC certification, fisheries must have proven traceability and be sustainable with a totally transparent supply chain.
Since the inception of the SPSG in 2007 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 accredited in 2008. This was closely followed by the certification of the NE Atlantic mackerel fishery in 2009. These were the first major pelagic tank vessel fisheries in the world to be certified by the MSC. The North Sea herring fishery was successfully re-certified in 2013.
The group recognises the fact that buyers are more aware of sustainability and sourcing issues and work tirelessley to ensure that all the fish produced by the SPSG meets all of the exacting standards required by MSC.
The SPSG encompasses all of the UK's 24 refrigerated seawater pelagic tank vessels, the pelagic processing companies, and the organisations associated with the industry. These have come together for the first time in this unique collaborative project. The secretariat for the group is provided by the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association.
Seafood Scotland provide expertise on environmental, sustainability and sourcing issues.