Fishing vessel operators’ federation Fiskebåt is encouraging the Norwegian Seafood Council to initiate an MSC certification process for snow crab.
According to Fiskebåt, this would provide a key selling point for Norwegian snow crab on the European market, enabling Norwegian producers to maintain their position. Although uncertified snow crab products have sold well so far, there is a likelihood that the market could change, not least with an increased supply of production.
‘It’s primarily Canada that is increasing the supply, and a large part of the catch there is MSC certified. In a competitive situation of this nature, there is a danger that Norwegian snow crab could be seen as a less attractive option,’ said Tor Are Vaskinn at Fiskebåt, pointing out that up to now, demand has been strong and prices have remained high.
There is a relatively short background to the snow crab fishery in the Barents Sea, as the first Norwegian vessels started on this in 2012, initially in Russian an end of the Loophole, but since 2017 all of the Norwegian catches have been from the Svalbard zone and the Norwegian continental shelf in the Loophole.
Roughly ten vessels have been fishing in recent years, and this has increased significantly in 2020 as 33 crabbers have been landing catches of snow crab. The Norwegian snow crab fishery for this year was ended on 1st June when the full 6750 tonne quota had been fished.
Fiskebåt is urging the Norwegian Seafood Council to initiate a certification process as soon as possible.
Image: Fiskebåt/Arne Birkeland