Certifier : 
Lloyds Register (Acoura)
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
01 Oct 2010
Certificate expires : 
04 Jan 2022


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