The herring fishery pursued by nine FROM Nord member vessels has been recertified by the MSC. The group of nine trawlers between them land around 2500 tonnes of herring annually.
The fishery has been fully reassessed five years on from the original certification, with annual audits carried out in the meantime. The nine trawlers and FROM Nord have been able to demonstrate that they operate within the sustainability limits of the stock and meet the scientific and environmental criteria set by the MSC.
The herring are caught using pelagic trawls that do not touch the sea bed and catches are 95% herring. This is a seasonal fishery, taking place from early October in the North Sea and ending in March in the Eastern Channel.
Most of the catches are canned or salted, with the remainder sold fresh as either fillets of whole fish. Key markets are the home market in France, as well as Germany and the Netherlands.
Local Boulogne-sur-Mer companies producing from locally-caught herring include smokery JC David and cannery Petit Pierre.
‘We are very pleased with the MSC re-certification of our herring fishery which confirms its sustainability. MSC certification added value to our product, and reassures the consumer by ensuring that our practices are sustainable,’ said FROM Nord director Thierry Missonnier.
According to MSC France, in order to maintain certification, the herring fishery must continue to work in close collaboration with Norway, the United Kingdom and the other EU countries to consolidate management of this herring stock.
Managing small pelagic species in the North East Atlantic presents challenges as these fish species have a short lifespan and populations can vary considerably according to environmental changes and human activity.
These species also have a very wide migration range and stocks are therefore exploited by vessels from many countries which absolutely must co-operate.
‘This new certification recognises the long-standing involvement of herring fishermen in environmental protection and we congratulate them on this success,’ said Margaux Favret, Fisheries Manager of MSC France.
‘The challenges of international co-operation coming are significant, especially in the context of Brexit, and we encourage FROM Nord and its members to continue their efforts, together with the other herring fishermen concerned, in consolidating the management of this stock on the short, medium and long term.’