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Razor Clam Fishery Achieves MSC Certification

22 November 2012

NETHERLANDS - The Producers’ Organisation of the Dutch Fishermen’s Association (DFA) razor clam fishery became the first introduced species fishery in the world to be awarded MSC certification.

The DFA’s MSC assessment was part-funded by a certification grant from the Dutch Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation and the Dutch province of Zeeland and was carried out by independent certifier Food Certification International.

MSC guidelines for introduced species

The MSC guidelines for introduced species were developed to allow fisheries on non-native species to seek evaluation against the MSC standard for sustainable fisheries. Consistent with best international practice, fisheries targeting introduced species can only be considered for MSC certification if the introduction is now irreversible, if the species is now self-sustaining and if the introduction occurred prior to 1993. Like all MSC certified fisheries, introduced species fisheries must demonstrate that they are subject to sustainably managed to ensure the continuation of the target stock and supporting ecosystems.

DFA urges shoppers to cherish domestic products

“The razor clam stock in the Dutch coastal waters is in very good shape and we nurture that through our responsible way of fishing. We have established a management plan with obligations and responsibilities that sets out the rules for fishermen and trading companies. Now the MSC has rewarded all this extra work and we are very proud of our certificate,” explains Johan Nooitgedagt, president of the DFA. “I hope that Northern Europeans will now start eating razor clams from Dutch fisheries at home - and not only during their holidays in Southern Europe.”

About the DFA razor clam fishery

The DFA razor clam fishery takes place in the south-western and northern coastal waters of The Netherlands. There are 8 licences for the fishery on razor clams (Ensis directus), 4 of which are in use. The vessels catch approximately 3,700 metric tonnes fresh weight. This is 46 per cent of the 2012 total allowable national catch (8,000mt). Dutch razor clams are mainly sold to the Spanish and Italian markets.

Benefits of MSC programme extended to introduced species

Rupert Howes, MSC chief executive, congratulated the fishery on achieving certification: “This is a global first and I am delighted to welcome the Dutch razor clam fishery into the MSC programme. The new guidance was specifically developed to extend the benefits of certification to those introduced species fisheries that were meeting best practice in sustainable management. I congratulate the fishery on their pioneering efforts; I hope they prove to be the first of more such fisheries who wish to meet the growing demand for certified sustainable seafood.”

TheFishSite News Desk

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