The North Sea fisheries for three stocks used largely in the production of fishmeal and fish oil have achieved MSC certification.
The certification has been awarded to the sandeel, Norway pout and sprat fisheries of the Danish Fishermen's Producers' Organisation (DFPO) and The Danish Pelagic Producers Organisations (DPPO).
The news is a welcome boost to the global aquaculture industry, particularly salmonid producers in Europe and Scandinavia, as the landing of these three species by the DFPO and DPPO are almost exclusively processed into fishmeal and fish oil for aquafeeds.
Dr Neil Auchterlonie, Technical Director of the IFFO, told The Fish Site: “IFFO is happy to see the recent results of the assessment of the DFPO/DPPO North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat sandeel, sprat and Norway pout, confirming the sustainable management of these fisheries. The fishmeal and fish oil from this fishery will make an important contribution to the market at a time when there is increasing interest in certification in seafood production, and this material is likely to hold an important position in the supply chain. Fishery certifications like MSC allow automatic acceptance of raw material into the IFFO RS scheme for responsible fishmeal and fish oil producers.”
Jonathan Broch Jacobsen, Sustainability Manager at DFPO, said in a press release: “With the current rapid global growth in aquaculture, it is paramount that the environmental footprint of aquaculture is sustainable. By having our large reduction fisheries MSC certified, we contribute our part to this - and we raise the bar. Not only for our colleagues in other reduction fisheries around the world, but also for the producers of land based ingredients for aquaculture feeds.”
The average landings for these fisheries are about 123,000 tonnes for sandeel, 155,000 tonnes for sprat and 26,000 tonnes of Norway pout. The third-party assessment team, employed by MRAG Americas, found that the stocks of these species in the North Sea are sustainably managed, following the introduction of more robust management measures, with clear scientific advice to reduce or even close the fisheries when stocks become low.
These measures also limit fishing when stocks are high to prevent overfishing. This scientific advice has been followed carefully, resulting in significant reductions in catch over the last decade.
Camiel Derichs, Regional Director for Europe at MSC says: “The certification of these North Sea fisheries marks a milestone for the Danish fishing industry. By investing in effective management, research and science, Danish fisheries are ensuring the sustainability of their catch, safeguarding seafood supplies and preserving marine environments. The certification of the reduction fishery means that they can now also support responsible aquaculture production.”
Recognising that further improvements are still possible, the fishery will need to deliver several improvements as conditions of certification. The action plan agreed by the DFPO/DPPO is expected to deliver well-defined harvest control rules these species, further improving management of these important stocks.
Esben Sverdrup-Jensen, CEO of the DPPO, says: “This MSC certification recognises the great efforts and commitment that the fisheries organisations in cooperation with scientists and authorities have put into attaining sustainable and well managed fisheries for sandeel, sprat and Norway pout. We target 13 different fish stocks – with this certification 95% of all DPPO landings are now MSC certified. We will continue to work on strengthening the cooperation between the fisheries, managers and scientists to provide a better foundation for the management of fish stocks and ultimately reach our target of 100% MSC certification.”