Seafood Rømø East Jutland and Isefjord blue shell mussel fishery earns MSC certification
Apr 05, 2012
The Seafood Rømø East Jutland and Isefjord blue shell mussel dredge fishery in Denmark was today awarded MSC certification following an independent assessment against the MSC standard for sustainable fisheries. The certificate means that – subject to traceability certification – mussels from this fishery will be eligible to bear the coveted blue MSC ecolabel, which provides consumers with assurance that the product is traceable to a certified sustainable source.
About the fishery
Seafood Rømø operates two vessels, one in the Isefjord and one off the eastern coast of Jutland all year around but most intensively during the period mid-August to February. The fishery uses dredges to harvest approximately 1500 metric tonnes of blue shell mussels (Mytilus edulis) every year.
To protect potentially sensitive marine habitats in the shallow water, the vessels are limited by legislation and cannot fish in waters shallower than 4m depth. There are further restrictions in place to protect wildlife in Natura 2000 sites. These include depth restrictions on fishing in water shallower than 4m or deeper than 12m.
Denmark is one of the most important producers of processed mussels in Europe and more than 90 per cent of all landings are exported as single frozen mussels or canned commodities. The mussels from this fishery are sold to both the live market and processed. Most of the mussels are exported but a small quantity is sold to the live market in Denmark.
Commitment to further improvements
The assessment of this fishery took less than a year and it scored highly for its stock status, with the certifier noting that the fishery had a negligible impact on mussel stocks and the marine environment. Nevertheless, as a condition for on-going certification, Seafood Rømø will develop a monitoring programme and a detailed research plan for the fishery together with the National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU-Aqua), which has overall responsibility for monitoring and assessing the different mussel stocks in this area.
Jan Rasmussen from Seafood Rømø says: “With our MSC certification we can now continue our sustainable fishing in the same way as we have done so far, namely with respect for the same nature that we all are part of, and our customers can with good conscience continue to eat our delicious mussels.”
“On behalf of the MSC, I’d like to congratulate Seafood Rømø on the certification of their blue shell mussel fishery. It’s very positive to see this fishery come through with such good scores and yet still commit to improvements that will help it maintain its claims to sustainability into the future, for the sake of the environment and environmentally-conscious consumers,” says Helene Tivemark, fisheries outreach officer for the MSC in the Baltic Sea region.