Certifier : 
Acoura Marine Limited trading as LRQA
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
01 Oct 2010
Certificate expires : 
03 Jan 2027


Fisheries are composed of one or more parts, each of which is entitled to receive an MSC certificate. These parts or “units” are defined by their target stock(s), fishing gear type(s) and if relevant vessel type(s), and the fishing fleets or groups of vessels.

When the term “Unit of Certification” is used for fishing units that are in assessment, it refers to the “Unit of Assessment” or “Unit of potential certification”. Expand a status below to view the parts that form this fishery. To check the detailed scope, download the latest certificate or open the Assessments page to get the latest report. Find out more by visiting our page on Fisheries

Units of Certification & Certificate Information

  • Certified
    MSC UoC Number Species Gear Type Ocean Area Certificate Code
    UoC-0176 Mackerel icefish (Champsocephalus gunnari) Trawls - Midwater trawls 48 (Atlantic, Antarctic) MSC-F-31253 (F-ACO-0028)

View glossary of terms

Catch by Species

Species Reported Catch Year Metric Tonnes
Mackerel icefish (Champsocephalus gunnari) 2020 0

Information is provided by an independent Conformity Assessment Body as live weight (the weight of species at the time of catch, before processing) and where a fishing season covers multiple years, the end year is given as the reported catch year. Additional information is available in the latest report, see the assessments page.

About this Fishery

Icefish, which are almost transparent, live deep underwater at temperatures between -2 and 4°C. They grow rapidly to a marketable size in three years, and congregate in large numbers to feed on krill.

After catches peaked in the early 1980s, it was feared that icefish stocks were being depleted. However, after many years of careful study and management, South Georgia pelagic trawl icefish was certified in October 2010.

Pelagic trawls have been key to the South Georgia fishery’s sustainability. With nets designed to avoid contact with bottom habitat, the ability to selectively target icefish and extensive measures in place to limit bycatch of seabirds, the fishery has minimised its ecosystem impacts.

No fishing is allowed within 12 nautical miles of South Georgia, the rocky islands off its coast that form key bird habitat, or the nearby marine protected areas. This also means that commercial fishing activity does not overlap with the icefish spawning areas closer to the coast and in fjords.

Polar Ltd, which operates the certified fishery, uses a slightly larger mesh size than the legal minimum in order to ensure it primarily catches larger, more mature icefish. 

"The South Georgia fishery takes place in one of the most carefully managed and environmentally conscious areas of the world – one of the last paradises for rare birds and pristine nature. One of the driving reasons for our MSC certification has been our willingness to accept this and protect and enhance the environment in which we work."

- Alex Reid, part owner of Polar Ltd


Mackerel Icefish Fish (Champsocephalus gunnari) illustration
© Scandinavian Fishing Year Book

Market Information

Icefish is mostly exported to Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, although efforts are currently being made to widen its global market.