Dutch oyster fisheries enter assessment

Pacific oysters. Credit: Wiki/Flickr/Fetchcomms Pacific oysters. Credit: Wiki/Flickr/Fetchcomms

The association represents two fisheries, targeting two species – Native Oyster and Pacific Oyster – that will be assessed at the same time.

Both fisheries rely on enhancement of oyster stocks – a Catch and Grow (CAG) system.

The oyster fisheries are located in the Dutch North Sea coastal region of the Eastern Scheldt (Oosterschelde) and Lake Grevelingen (Grevelingenmeer). There are about 30 companies and individuals active in these fisheries that together control nearly the whole supply of Dutch oysters. The Native and Pacific Oysters are caught by means of a ‘kor’, a special net that scrapes the oysters from the bed.

The Native Oyster stock is very vulnerable and is scarcer than the Pacific Oyster because it reproduces with more difficulty and is more sensitive to the disease Bonamiasis. The members of the Dutch Oyster Association catch about 700,000 items of Native Oysters and about 35 million items of Pacific Oysters annually. There is no TAC as this is an enhanced fishery. The oysters are mainly sold on the Belgian, German, French and Italian market.

Jaap de Rooij, secretary of the Dutch Oyster Association said: “We are convinced that oysters in the Netherlands are harvested in a sustainable way. Certification to the MSC standard will be the confirmation of this. For more than 100 years oysters have been cultivated in these exact locations. The oyster sector is entering into full assessment with confidence that we will receive the desired MSC certificate.”

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