Three Danish mussel-harvesting vessels have earned Marine Stewardship Council certification, the London-based organization announced on Thursday. Processing company Royal Frysk Muschein financed the certification process and the mussels harvested by the three vessels.
The mussels are harvested off the east coast of Jutland in Denmark, using dredges at depths of at least four meters. Before the dredges are lowered into the water, fishermen locate the mussel beds using sonar and video technology, preventing them from harvesting mussels that are too small. Each dredging pass lasts no more than ten minutes.
Last year, the three vessels accounted for 88 percent of the entire mussel landings on the east coast of Jutland, at 6,600 metric tons. Catch quotas are sent and allocated annually by the Danish Directorate of Fisheries. Last year, each vessel was allowed 270 metric tons of mussels per week. Fishermen agreed to lower this quota to 150 metric tons per week in order to support responsible management and make a contribution to the long-term preservation of the mussel stocks.
The mussel fishery’s management system is under the supervision of the Danish Commission of Commercial Fisheries. It is based on regular evaluation of biological data and on an analysis of the distribution and development of mussel stocks, which is conducted with the help of geographical information systems. The information obtained in this way enables the fishery to target the most productive mussel beds.