Former recreational fishery eyes MSC eco-label


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
March 31, 2010

The Dutch Organization of Professional Rod and Line Fishermen’s (VBHL) rod-and-line sea bass fishery on Thursday entered full assessment for Marine Stewardship Council certification as well-managed and sustainable.

This is the latest step in the effort to fulfill the Dutch demersal fishing fleet’s 2008 pledge to enter all its fisheries in the MSC program by 2012.

The VBHL’s rod-and-line sea bass harvest is a relatively new fishery, originating as a recreational fishery whereby fishermen sold part of their catch. But in 2005, the Dutch government banned the sale of fish caught by unregistered fishing vessels amidst complaints of high unofficial landings from recreational fishermen.

Now the rod-and-line sea bass fleet is commercially registered, consisting of 19 small fishing vessels that catch around 100 metric tons annually.

“By embarking on the MSC journey and working to meet the sustainability criteria, we hope to be able to contribute in a more structured way to the management of the fishery,” said Imre Schep, VBHL Netherlands chairman. “Increasingly, awareness is on the rise both in the fishing industry and among consumers, resulting in a balance between supply and demand. If successful, we also expect a better and more stable price for our products and hope that it will influence other fisheries to follow in our footsteps. The MSC has set a compelling vision and has inspired us to be part of the drive toward sustainability.”

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