MSC approves one of Russia’s oldest fishing fleets

Published on
January 27, 2016

The Arkhangelsk Trawl Fleet (ATF) of Russia’s Pomorye region – which includes the White Sea coast and surrounding waters – has achieved the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) Fisheries Standard, the certification body announced on 26 January.

Cod and haddock caught by the fleet from the fishery, which is one of the largest and most storied in Russia, can now bear the blue MSC ecolabel, indicating that the fish originates from a sustainable, well-managed source. ATF joins the ranks of over 280 MSC certified fisheries by meeting the standard.

“Atlantic Cod and Haddock are in great demand in the global whitefish markets, and in Russia as well. Various international fisheries targeting cod and haddock in North-East Atlantic are already MSC certified. It is therefore a great accomplishment that JSC Arkhangelsk Trawl Fleet have now also successfully become certified. We are proud to see ATF join the many other fisheries working hard to protect our marine ecosystems. We look forward to seeing the first MSC ecolabelled products from this fishery on the markets,” said Camiel Derichs, MSC Regional Director Europe.

Operating since 1920, ATF is one of the oldest fleets known to the North of Russia; the fishery utilizes demersal trawls and has five vessels fishing in the Barents and Norwegian seas. The main products provided by the fishery include frozen-at-sea cod and haddock (headed and gutted) and cod and haddock fillets. The fishery follows the annual quotas set in 2014: 30,803 metric tons for cod and 5,296 metric tons for haddock.

“Through the process of becoming MSC certified, we’ve learnt a lot about the environmental problems that exist in our traditional fishing areas in the Barents and Norwegian Seas. For us, MSC certification is not only a means to access new markets, but an opportunity to work in collaboration with stakeholders to improve the marine environment especially in the northern seas,” said Sergey Nesvetov, Executive director of the ATF.

"ATF has worked hard to meet the standards required and it’s our hope that their success will encourage other fisheries to consider improving sustainability and exploring MSC certification. With consumer demand for the label continuing to grow rapidly, we believe ATF are very well placed to benefit from their commitment to sustainable fishing practices," Martin Gill, Managing Director Acoura Marine, which carried out the third-party assessment of the fishery over the course of 15 months.

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