REPRESENTATIVES from the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation (SSMO) are preparing to travel to London for a hearing next month that will finally determine the future of the isles’ eco labelled scallop fishery.
The Shetland scallop and brown crab fisheries were certified as being ecologically sensitive when given the blue label by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in March 2012.
But last year conservation group Open Seas called on the MSC not to renew the eco label over concerns that scallop dredging is having a negative impact on the seabed.
The dispute has been rumbling on behind the scenes over recent months with both sides making submissions to an independent adjudicator.
SSMO said this week that the organisation was involved in “detailed discussions” which may or may not “negate the requirement for a MSC hearing in London”.
A spokesman for Open Seas said the group had tried to constructively engage with the re-certification process for well over a year.
“We presented in detail the issues we think need to be addressed, but no remedial action has been taken. We therefore felt we had no option but to formally object,” he said.
“The adjudicator appointed by MSC has stated that our objection has a “reasonable prospect for success” and has therefore now triggered an adjudication process.
“We have and remain committed to open dialogue during this time. At the end of the day, it is in everyone’s long-term interest that high sustainability standards are met and maintained.”
The hearing will take place on 30 May at MSC’s global headquarters in London.