Dover sole nets MSC certification


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
November 24, 2009

The Dutch Fisheries Organization's (DFO) Dover sole gillnet fishery on Tuesday was awarded Marine Stewardship Council certification as a sustainable and well-managed fishery.

It's the 59th worldwide to earn the distinction.

The 60-vessel inshore fishery harvests about 200 metric tons of Dover sole between March and October. It operates under a voluntary management plan, and recently the Dutch government incorporated elements of the plan in a new regulatory framework for the fishery, capping access and fishing effort.

"This did not happen overnight. Over the last few years the fishermen have invested in consultation and cooperation with important stakeholders, which resulted in a management plan that has wide support and forms the basis for the MSC certification," said Derk Jan Berends of the DFO, which served as the MSC client.

"Limiting the number of vessels and the number of nets in the coastal zone is an important precondition the fishermen have enforced on themselves. The fishermen also participate actively in research," he added. "MSC certification contributes to a positive image of the gillnet fishery for Dover sole. It would be great if the market would reward this initiative as well by means of better prices."

Collectively, there are more than 150 fisheries engaged in the London-based MSC program worldwide, with 59 certified, more than 100 under in full assessment and another 40 to 50 fisheries in confidential pre-assessment.

Late last year, the Dutch parliament  set aside EUR 1 million (USD 1.4 million) for fishery assessment and certification.

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