MSC certification of Namibia’s hake trawl and longline fishery recognises progress made by the Namibian government and fishing industry in rebuilding hake stocks as it becomes the first fishery in Namibia, and the second in Africa, to meet Marine Stewardship Council standards.
‘Demand for sustainable hake is growing, especially in Europe,’ said Peter Pahl, Chair of the Namibian Hake Fishing Association.
‘Having MSC certification will help the Namibian Hake industry stay competitive and meet demand in our existing markets, as well as expand into new markets where retailers and brands preferentially stock MSC certified fish to meet their consumers’ expectations. Now we have certification, we hope to see our numbers grow, benefiting Namibians, communities, the economy and of course, the oceans.’
Fishing is the third largest sector of Namibia’s economy, with hake making up the majority of the sector and directly employing more than 10,000 people. The bulk of hake industry jobs go to women, who clean, fillet and pack the fish for export in factories around the ports where the hake is landed. MSC certification is expected to help the sector grow, benefiting the economy, communities and creating more jobs.
‘As custodians of our natural resources, it is our responsibility to manage Namibia’s fisheries in a way that ensures the long-term health and biodiversity of the oceans, and at the same time allows our fishing industry to maximise the value of the resource for the current and future generations of the Namibian people in line with the provisions of article 95(l) of the Namibian constitution,’ commented Dr. A Kawana, Namibia’s Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
‘We have worked hard to rebuild hake stocks that were historically overfished. MSC certification of the Namibian hake is an independent endorsement that our efforts are working, and a signal to retailers, brands and fish lovers around the world that the Namibian hake is sustainable and it is here to stay.’
A global surge in consumer interest in sustainably sourced products means demand is outpacing supply. MSC certification will ensure the fishery can continue to export to markets in Southern Europe and will help it expand into retail markets in Northern Europe.
Nomad Foods, which owns the Birdseye, Findus and Iglo brands and has committed to source 100% of its fish and seafood from sustainable sources by the end of 2025, welcomed the certification.
‘As the world’s largest buyer of certified wild caught white fish, and a proud co-founder of the MSC, we have a key role to play in encouraging fisheries to continuously improve their practices to ensure the health of fish stocks, vulnerable species and ocean habitats. This requires a long-term view and collaboration across the supply chain,’ said Stefan Descheemaeker, CEO of Nomad Foods.
‘With more than 95% of our raw material already externally certified, we are increasing our focus on fish species that make up the remainder of our portfolio, including Namibian Hake. We have supported the Namibia hake trawl and longline fishery on its certification journey for a number of years and expect to be one of the first companies to bring products made from MSC certified Namibian Hake to European consumers.’
The Namibian hake fishery is expected to add up to 160,000 tonnes of sustainable hake into the sustainable seafood supply chain.