Dutch North Sea plaice fleet goes for MSC certification

21 Apr 2010
The Dutch North Sea plaice-directed fleet has entered full MSC assesment

The Dutch North Sea plaice-directed fleet has entered full MSC assesment

The Dutch North Sea plaice-directed fleet has entered full assessment in the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification programme.

The plaice fishery and its Dover sole by-catch will be assessed against the MSC standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. In 2008, the Dutch demersal fishing industry signed a memorandum of understanding with environmental NGOs and the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, agreeing to enter all their fisheries into the MSC programme by 2012.

The North Sea plaice fisheries are important fisheries for The Netherlands. Together with Dutch-owned vessels flying the flag of other European Member States, the Netherlands holds 55% of the European Total Allowable Catch of plaice. Traditionally plaice was mainly fished using beam-trawl gears, but in recent years other gear types have been developed.

In some plaice fisheries, Dover sole is an important commercial by-catch. This by-catch will also be assessed to the MSC standard so that, if successful, the sole can be sold bearing the MSC ecolabel. To reflect the complexity of the flatfish fisheries, 12 Units of Certification have been identified around the main plaice-directed gears: twinrigs, outerrigs, Danish seines and flyshooting – each with a corresponding unit for Dover sole by-catch. The Cooperative Fisheries Organisation (CVO, Coöperatieve Visserijorganisatie) commissioned the full assessment on behalf of the Dutch demersal producers’ organisations.

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