North Sea fishery challenges consumers to eat more herring, achieves recertification

Published on
April 14, 2017

The North Sea herring fishery has achieved recertification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), meaning products utilizing herring caught from the fishery will continue to bear the MSC blue ecolabel, signifying sustainability. 

The vessels that fish for herring in the North Sea include those operated by the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group and the Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (England, France, Germany, Lithuania and the Netherlands). Both the Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA) and Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group (SPSG) North Sea herring fisheries have long held MSC certification, having been approved in 2006 and 2008, respectively. This marks the third time the fisheries have been recertified under MSC’s program of five-yearly assessments.

According to North Sea fishermen, this recertification comes at a good time, when the public is being urged to eat more herring for its healthy heart benefits, omega-3 fatty acids and essential vitamins and minerals.

“This recertification is great news for the fishery and highlights the determination of our herring fishermen to ensure a sustainable future,” said Ian Gatt, secretary of SPSG, in a news release.“Health experts recommend we should eat two portions of fish every week, one of which should be an oil-rich fish, which is why we should all be including fish such as herring or mackerel in our weekly shop.”

“Our North Sea herring fishery was the first large European fishery of its type to be certified under the MSC label,” added Gerard van Balsfoort of the PFA. “This third certification of the iconic North Sea herring fishery shows how collaboration among scientists – including our own researchers – management authorities and the fishing industry can lead to successful and long term sustainable harvesting.”

The assessment was conducted by Acoura Marine on behalf of PFA and SPSG.

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