Sardine fishery lands MSC certification


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
August 5, 2010

The South Brittany sardine purse seine fishery on Thursday announced it was awarded Marine Stewardship Council certification for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

The 21 member boats of the Association des Bolincheurs de Bretagne (Association of Purse Seine Fishers in Brittany) and holders of a purse seiner license can now utilize the MSC eco-label.

Ninety percent of the sardine catch is landed from May to October; in 2009 the association's catch was about 20,000 metric tons.

The purse seiners' harvests are primarily landed at the fish markets of Saint-Guénolé (50 percent), Douarnenez (30 percent) and, to a lesser extent, Concarneau (15 percent), with the remaining 5 percent landed at the fish markets of Loctudy, Le Guilvinec and Audierne.

Sardines caught by purse seiners are primarily of grade 10 or 20 (between 14 and 23 centimeters); the smallest destined primarily for the canning industry and the largest for the fresh market.

Sardine purse seining is managed exclusively in territorial waters up to 12 miles from the coast. As a result, it is considered a type of coastal fishing and is governed by the Comité Régional des Pêches Maritimes et des Elevages Marins de Bretagne in the framework of the European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

"We are delighted to be joining the family of MSC-certified fisheries. It was important for us to prove the sustainability of our fishing practices by means of an independent evaluation and this international recognition is a reward for our association, which independently manages our fishery," said Didier Le Gloanec, president of the association. "Sardine fishing is not actually governed by a quota system and we have implemented our own license system to improve our resource management. The MSC certification is part of our plan to continue to pursue this voluntary responsible approach alongside our management systems."

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