Russia's Fishery Shipowners Association (FSA) -- whose members include Russian Fishery Company, the country's largest pollock harvester -- has been awarded Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for pollock fishing in the East Sakhalin subarea.

The certificate gives all members of the consortium the ability to sell their products as certified, giving it full independence from the Pollock Catchers Association (PCA), which has held the MSC certificate since the fishery first received the eco-label.

This is the third fishing area where the association's member companies have been certified to the MSC standard.

Earlier, the FSA obtained MSC certification for pollock fishing in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Western Bering Sea.

The MSC certification procedure for fishing areas off Kamchatka and the Northern Kuril is ongoing.

"The new MSC-label confirms that East Sakhalin pollock fishery by the FSA member companies comply with the principles of sustainable fishing, the main one being the conservation of pollock stocks," Alexey Osintsev, the FSA's head, told IntraFish.

The FSA was established in 2016 and now includes 28 fishing companies affiliated with whitefish giants Russian Fishery Company (RFC), Russian Crab and Norebo Group.

The overall catch share of the member companies makes up 22 percent of Russia’s total seafood harvest.

In addition to the FSA's efforts, the PCA has also continued to pursue certification for new areas.

In March 2021, the group was awarded the MSC certificate for the pollock fishery in the East Sakhalin subarea. The total allowable catch for 2022 in the East Sakhalin subzone was set at 122,700 metric tons.