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Collective MSC certification for fisheries on North East Atlantic herring extended


In 2015, fisheries associations from several European countries joint forces to have their sustainable fisheries on North East Atlantic herring (also often named Atlanto-Scandian or Atlanto herring) certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). On 3 January 2016, the positive assessment was concluded and the sustainability certification was handed to the consortium partners. The certificate is valid for 5 years.

Fishing companies from Great Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands, among which Cornelis Vrolijk and Jaczon, were already MSC certified for their herring catches since 2011. For the reassessment, which according to the MSC criteria needs to take place in a comprehensive manner every five years, the three countries decided to prepare a joint application. Swedish and Irish sister associations joined the consortium shortly after the process commenced.
Besides validating the sustainable character of the fisheries with the certification, the national fisheries associations aimed to strengthen the collaboration of their associations and members with the joint application. International cooperation is of major importance in the management of this fish stock. In addition, the collaborative process held the advantage that only one accreditation body needed to interpret the situation and the MSC criteria, enduring a level playing field among fishermen from different countries.
Cornelis Vrolijk and Jaczon were represented in the process by the Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA), of which the two companies are members. Catches of the international consortium add up to approximately 40.000 tonnes of Atlanto herring annually. The PFA brings around a quarter of this quantity to port.
The Atlanto herring is only caught in August, September and October. The fat content of the herring is highest during this season, making the fish of optimal quality for human consumption. Important markets for Cornelis Vrolijk are Nigeria, Ivory coast, Egypt, Eastern Europe, China and Japan.
For more information on MSC certification see:

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