The socioeconomic impacts of MSC certification in the Scottish haddock fishery.

A report on a study commissioned by MSC explores the social and economic impacts experienced by the MSC-certified Scottish haddock fishery as a result of becoming MSC certified.

Haddock is the most important demersal whitefish species to Scottish fishers. In 2015, Scottish vessels landed over 27,000 tonnes of haddock, worth £41 million. MSC-certified haddock makes up an estimated 30-40% of certified Scottish catch. Globally, there are 20 haddock fisheries that have met the MSC Fisheries Standard. Combined, these represent 91.6% of the global haddock catch being MSC certified. The UK is an important market for these fisheries, accounting for nearly 77% of all MSC labelled haddock product sales (by volume) globally.

The study was in two parts. Social surveys explored stakeholder perceptions of certification, as well as the benefits and challenges experienced by the fishery since becoming certified.

An economic analysis, conducted by NEF Consulting, explored whether the haddock fishery specifically had reaped a higher price (a ‘price premium’) as a result of certification. To do this, we compared changes in prices and landings volume of MSC-certified fish before and after certification to a ‘control group’ of the same fish species caught elsewhere in the UK, but not certified.

While the impact of certification on price premiums remains inconclusive for SFSAG haddock, feedback from fishery stakeholders suggests that there have been other important benefits to the economic security of the fishery, such as maintaining access to domestic markets and accessing new European markets.

Download the report and find out more here.