The Industry Group Agreement to the Cod Fishery in the Northern Part of the North-East Atlantic Announced as 2017 Responsible Business Ocean Awards Winner

13 January 2017

The longstanding commitment to sustainable fisheries management of Northern Barents Sea Fisheries was commended once again last night (11th January 2017) as the Ocean Awards revealed its Responsible Business Award was awarded to the Industry Group Agreement to the cod fishery in the northern part of the North-East Atlantic for the self-imposed precautionary ban on fishing on potentially vulnerable areas that may have arisen due to climate change.

NOREBO has been an active player in the Industry Group developing this agreement and implementing measures under the agreement to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems.


The Ocean Awards and its Responsible Business Award

The Ocean Awards, held in partnership with Blue Marine Foundation, celebrates individuals, companies, legislators and projects that have made outstanding contributions to the health of the oceans. Its Responsible Business Award recognises the company or group of companies that have done the most to ensure that their business operations are not undertaken at the expense of the marine environment. Nominees for this award must have undertaken activities or commitments that will have a positive impact on the health of the marine environment, or have seen another significant milestone towards that goal – all undertaken primarily to benefit the ocean, rather than the company’s bottom line.


2017 Responsible Business Award Winner

It is the longstanding commitments and agreements undertaken in 2016 by the industry group responsible for the sustainable management of the cod fishery in the northern part of the North-East Atlantic that demonstrated exactly the above award criteria and as a result, took the title of 2017 Responsible Business of the year.


Recognising the need to respond to climate change and vulnerable waters

With centuries-old tradition of sustainably managing stocks in the Norwegian and Barents Seas, the threat of climate change in newly melted northerly waters opening up new fishing grounds for industrial trawlers from Russia and Norway, has been taken seriously by the Norwegian and Russian catching industry.

In May 2016, an international group of trade associations, unions, processors, manufacturers and retailers struck a deal that promised to protect a part of the Arctic Ocean from industrial fishing for Atlantic cod. It undertook “not to expand activities with trawl gear into those areas where regular fishing has not taken place before”, in a stretch of the Arctic that extends north from the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea around the islands of Svalbard to the North Pole.

The importance is such that anyone fishing in these waters cannot sell their catch to the signatories to the agreement, which includes NOREBO’s fishing companies and other representatives of Russian fishing sector and Fiskebåt (the Norwegian Association of Owners of Fishing Vessels), but also frozen food producers such as Birds Eye, Findus, Iglo and Young’s Seafood; the Danish company Espersen (Europe’s largest processor of frozen fish); McDonald’s; Icelandic Seachill, a leading supplier of chilled fish to the UK retail market; and the British supermarket chains Asda, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

With fish consumption per capita almost doubling over the past half century, the need for sustainable fisheries management is paramount. Fisheries and aquaculture now support an estimated 10 to 12 per cent of the world’s population, 54 million of them fishers and fish farmers, the rest employed in packaging, processing and other aspects of the supply chain.

The full text of the Industry Group Agreement is available here.