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First MSC certification for the North Atlantic blue whiting fishery

From 11 February 2016 onwards, Cornelis Vrolijk and Jaczon may sell blue whiting (Micromesistious poutassaou) caught in the North Atlantic with the sustainable fisheries certification of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Fishermen from the Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland and France worked together to obtain the certificate. The successful application for the MSC label represents an acknowledgement of the fact that the blue whiting stock is in a healthy state and it may be expected that it will remain healthy in the future.
The collaborating fisheries associations –among which the Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA), of which Cornelis Vrolijk and Jaczon are members- represent an international fleet of 72 fishing vessels, which use highly selective fishing methods to target the blue whiting. In addition to assessing the status of the fish stock MSC takes into account side effects of a fishery, such as the quantity and composition of unintended bycatches. Bycatch in the blue whiting fishery however is hardly substantial (2-3). This is partly due to the fact that blue whiting –like other pelagic fish species- form schools in the middle of the water column, where they generally do not mix with other species. For the PFA, this certification makes contributes towards its general objective to have all its members’ fisheries sustainably certified in the near future.
Four out of five of the certified national fleets in the consortium sell the cod-like fish predominantly for human consumption either whole-frozen of as basis for surimi (fish fingers) and fish pies. The Danish fishermen also supply to the fishmeal industry.
Camiel Derichs, Director or MSC Europe, sees the certification –and especially the international cooperation among the fisheries association- as a wonderful result. “The collaboration and dedication of this group of fishermen to fish sustainably and to validate this through MSC certification will make a positive contribution to the future of the fish stock and the future of the fishing sector itself”.
MSC is an independent, international non-profit organisation, which offers a standardised label to sustainably caught fish. Consumers can recognise certified product by the blue MSC logo. The MSC certification for North Atlantic blue whiting fisheries is valid for five years.

For more information on MSC certification see:


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