First herring gillnet fishery certified

The Gulf Nova Scotia Herring Federation and its member associations have achieved Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for sustainable fishing, making it the first ever gillnet herring fishery to achieve MSC certification.

‘’We are delighted to see this important fishery independently assessed and certified as being well managed and environmentally sustainable,” said Federation chairman and herring fisher Greg Egilsson. “To be the first herring fishery in the world with this gear type to achieve MSC certification is a huge accomplishment and endorsement of the conservation measures championed by the Federation over many years.”

Fall herring is one component of a coastal, multi-species fishery that opens for only a very limited period in September and October. In 2015, the 400 eligible fish harvesters landed 5,630 mt of herring worth almost $2.6 million. It occurs in Herring Fishing Area 16 F situated within the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence specifically in waters off the eastern portion of the Northumberland Strait between the northern shore of Nova Scotia and southeastern shore of Prince Edward Island.

“The MSC is thrilled to welcome Canadian Fall herring into our program,” said Jay Lugar, program director for MSC in Canada. “The Gulf of St. Lawrence is home to a rich diversity of species of which many are commercially harvested and a large portion of volume is MSC certified. We are proud to see Fall herring join the ranks of fisheries that are working hard to protect our marine ecosystems and using the MSC certification to signal their accomplishments to the world.”

In Canada, herring roe is an important product and is mostly sold in Japan. Much of the Fall herring is also sold to processors for the smoked herring market in North America and the Caribbean.

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