Dutch North Sea herring fishermen kick off season with MSC re-certification

June 1, 2011 10:38

The Pelagic Freezer-Trawler Association (PFA) North Sea herring fishery celebrates the start of the 2011 season with their successful re-certification against the MSC standard for sustainable fisheries. Herring sourced from the fishery therefore remains eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel. The MSC certificate for the PFA was issued by Moody Marine Ltd. and is valid for five years subject to surveillance audits, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to MSC.
About the fishery

The PFA North Sea herring fishery was first certified in 2006 - a pioneering decision, which made it the first large European fishery to engage with the MSC programme. As , The PFA is still committed to improvement and has voluntarily implemented various policies to promote sustainable fishing in its fleet, for example, implementing  new technologies such as sophisticated sonar to further reduce bycatch.

PFA's members catch about 70,000 metric tonnes of North Sea herring per year and its 25 freezer-trawlers operate under the Dutch, French, German, UK and Lithuanian flags. During the herring season usually between 8 and 10 of these ships catch North Sea Herring. The fleet uses pelagic trawl nets to fish the North Sea and Eastern English Channel herring stock. All the herring is frozen and boxed on board and is mainly exported to Europe, North and West Africa.
Adjust management to the development of the stock

Gerard van Balsfoort, PFA-president is pleased to see the sustainability of the North Sea herring fishery re-affirmed: "Over the past 5 years there has been an amazing development in the North Sea herring stock. North Sea herring experienced low recruitment rates, due to natural fluctuations,  to which the management response was a radical reduction of the quota for a couple of years. We supported that approach and now we see a recovered stock in good shape and the fishing quotas are increasing again. The example of North Sea herring shows that it is possible to keep an MSC certificate as long as a fishery is willing to adapt its management to the variations in the stock."
Consumers can choose sustainable herring

"The blue MSC ecolabel  now on most of the herring sold in the Dutch, Belgian and German markets - is an assurance to consumers that they are choosing sustainable herring, directly traceable to back to a certified fishey, " says Nathalie Steins, MSC Country Manager Benelux. "I congratulate the fishery on their hard work in achieving recertification, their ongoing commitment to improvement, and their foresight in supporting the market for sustainable seafood."
About Moody Marine

Moody Marine Ltd.is a leading third-party provider of certification, auditing and testing services, and standards. Its goal is to recognize the highest levels of performance in food safety and quality, environmental protection and social responsibility in the private and public sectors, and to stimulate continuous improvement in sustainable development. Moody Marine was accredited to undertake MSC fishery and chain of Custody certifications in 2006.

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