Dutch razor clam fishery MSC-certified
A Dutch razor clam fishery on Tuesday became the first Marine Stewardship Council-certified fishery for an introduced species.
The Producers’ Organisation of the Dutch Fishermen’s Association (DFA) razor clam fishery assessment was part-funded by a certification grant from the Dutch Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation and the Dutch province of Zeeland and was carried out by independent certifier Food Certification International.
The MSC guidelines for introduced species were developed to allow fisheries on non-native species to seek evaluation against the MSC standard for sustainable fisheries. Consistent with best international practice, fisheries targeting introduced species can only be considered for MSC certification if the introduction is now irreversible, if the species is now self-sustaining and if the introduction occurred prior to 1993.
“This is a global first and I am delighted to welcome the Dutch razor clam fishery into the MSC program. The new guidance was specifically developed to extend the benefits of certification to those introduced species fisheries that were meeting best practice in sustainable management,” said Rupert Howes, MSC chief executive. “I congratulate the fishery on their pioneering efforts; I hope they prove to be the first of more such fisheries who wish to meet the growing demand for certified sustainable.”
Like all MSC-certified fisheries, introduced species fisheries must demonstrate that they are sustainably managed to ensure the continuation of the target stock and supporting ecosystems.
“The razor clam stock in the Dutch coastal waters is in very good shape and we nurture that through our responsible way of fishing. We have established a management plan with obligations and responsibilities that sets out the rules for fishermen and trading companies. Now the MSC has rewarded all this extra work and we are very proud of our certificate,” explained Johan Nooitgedagt, president of the DFA. “I hope that Northern Europeans will now start eating razor clams from Dutch fisheries at home, and not only during their holidays in Southern Europe.”
The DFA razor clam fishery takes place in the southwestern and northern coastal waters of The Netherlands. There are eight licenses for the fishery on razor clams (Ensis directus), four of which are in use. The vessels catch approximately 3,700 metric tons (MT) fresh weight. This is 46 percent of the 2012 total allowable national catch (8,000 MT). Dutch razor clams are mainly sold to the Spanish and Italian markets.