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MSC labeling and ex-vessel prices – the effects of a suspended MSC certification

In recent years, eco-labelling of fish products has increased markedly and previous research shows that consumers are willing to pay a price premium for eco-labelled fish products. Whether or not the fishers’ receive a price premium is also an important issue as it provides an incentive to invest in sustainable fishing practices.

Since 2011, the demersal trawl, longline and fish trap components of the Sweden Eastern Baltic cod have been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), one of the leading eco-labels for fish products. However, in December 2015 the MSC certificate was suspended because the stock assessment was insufficient to provide advice on stock status. In this study we use a detailed dataset on catches and landings to examine whether or not Swedish fishermen receive a price premium from selling MSC-certified cod and if the price premium has been affected by the removal of the certification.

The study runs in cooperation with the Department of Aquatic Resources at SLU and is expected to be completed in spring 2018.