Suriname shrimp fishery MSC

The Suriname Atlantic seabob shrimp fishery is the world’s first tropical shrimp fishery to achieved Marine Stewardship Council sustainability certification, the London-based organization announced on Thursday.

This comes just over a week after an independent adjudicator accepted the certifier’s (Food Certification International Ltd.) science-based working hypothesis of a distinct Surinamese stock. The certification had been opposed by numerous parties concerned that the assessment had been based on a flawed stock definition and that the Suriname stock could not be treated separately from the neighboring Guyana stock.

The assessment was commissioned about two years ago by The Heiploeg Group on behalf of 20 Suriname-based vessels. The Atlantic seabob (Xiphopenaeus kroyeri) is a small-sized short-lived shrimp. The fishery takes place in the coastal waters of Suriname within the Guyana-Brazil Large Marine Ecosystem. Shrimp fishing is the fourth largest source of exports in both Suriname and Guyana. Using twin-rigged otter trawls, the fishery runs year-round and is carried out by Heiploeg Suriname and Namoona/SAIL, under 20 licenses.

Annual landings total about 10,000 metric tons, which is more than 90 percent of the Suriname seabob landings. The product is mainly sold into the European and North American markets as peeled small meats used in salads, toppings and as breaded products.

“This has been a challenging process,” said MSC CEO Rupert Howes. “The pre-assessment identified several issues that had to be addressed if the fishery was to meet the MSC standard. In resolving these challenges, the fishery, its partners and the Suriname government have implemented changes that will deliver environmental benefits and which provide a model for other fisheries in the region to follow.”

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