FRANCE - The French Herring Producers Association (FROM Nord) has achieved the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, showing that the fishery is sustainable.
After a year of rigorous science-based assessment by independent auditors, herring from this group can now be sold alongside the blue MSC ecolabel, indicating that the fish has been sustainably sourced.
Herring is one of the most important species by volume for FROM Nord and for the region. The fishery landed more than 3,000 tonnes of herring in 2014 and has five artisan pelagic trawlers from the north-western part of France.
Thierry Missonnier, Director of FROM Nord, said: "We're extremely happy to now have confirmation from an independent third party of the sustainability of our management measures and the fishing practices of our members.
"This certification should also help us to better showcase herring production on the French and European market."
FROM Nord is a producers' association established in Boulogne-sur-Mer in 1965.
It is made up of members from ocean-fishing companies at the ports of Boulogne-sur-Mer (EURONOR), Saint-Malo (Compagnie des Pêches Saint-Malo) and Fécamp (France Pélagique), artisan ships, trawlers, mussel dredgers and netters unloading at the ports of Dunkerque, Boulogne, Calais, Dieppe and Fécamp, as well as the Gulf of Gascogne.
Edouard Le Bart, MSC Manager for France, explained: "The goal of the MSC is to make the market for seafood products more sustainable and give consumers the ability to actively participate in this global movement.
"However, this wouldn't be possible without the fishermen and organisations that commit to initiatives that showcase sustainable fishing.
"The producers association FROM Nord is already a driving force behind the certification of pollock, cod and haddock fisheries.
"I congratulate them for their commitment and their successful achievement of the certification for the herring fishery."
The certification of this fishery is expected to increase the availability of MSC labelled herring products on the market, with the majority of catches intended for processing, and the rest for the fresh market.
According to a recent survey amongst regular seafood buyers in France, 90 per cent see marine conservation as a key issue with 45 per cent actively seeking to buy sustainable seafood products.
TheFishSite News Desk