French cod and haddock fishery obtains MSC certification for sustainable fishing
Apr 19, 2012
After 20 months of assessment, the North-East Arctic cod and haddock fishery today becomes the fifth French fishery to be certified to the MSC standard for sustainable fishing.
A joint commitment to sustainability
Already certified independently for their catches of saithe in the North Sea [1 & 2], the Boulogne fleet EURONOR and the Compagnie des Pêches Saint-Malo embarked on a joint endeavour to obtain MSC certification for cod and haddock, supported by their producers’ organisation, the FROM Nord .
Holding the entire French quota for cod (Gadus morhua) and haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) in the North-East Arctic Ocean, the FROM Nord shares it each year between these two companies that have now been certified. A long-standing coordinated management model that Thierry Missonnier, Chairman of the FROM Nord, wanted to enhance: "We work in close collaboration with the subscriber fleets to ensure a sustainable management of halieutic resources. Obtaining MSC certification today is recognition of the coherency of the management measures that we have implemented around an eco-responsible fishery."
Three of EURONOR's freezing trawlers (Cap Nord, Klondyke and Nordic II) as well as the trawler Grande Hermine of Compagnie des Pêches Saint-Malo, operate in this fishery. The independent certification body MacAlister Elliott and Partners Ltd and the expert team in charge of assessment found that cod and haddock stocks in the North-East Arctic Ocean were in excellent condition, and reported a controlled impact of fishing gear on marine ecosystems. Going further, an action plan will be implemented to improve the detection and protection of sensitive habitats.
An answer to consumers' expectations
For Martine Edouard Leborgne, Communication Manager at Compagnie des Pêches Saint-Malo, "The MSC certification is a way to show our good fishing practices to the general public using an independent certification system that is recognised all over the world. We think that MSC certification will consolidate and develop our products on the French market and expand their export markets."
Euronor CEO Xavier Leduc confirms these expectations: "With this MSC certification, we are opting to position ourselves in an increasingly strategic market. Whereas our first certification (for saithe) was a bet on the future with the aim of enhancing the image of our fishery and attracting new sailors, this second certification responds to a market reality in which we want to have a part."
An increasingly diversified MSC-labelled product offer
Nicolas Guichoux, MSC Regional Director - Europe, says: "I would like to congratulate and thank all the stakeholders who were involved in the certification process. The demand of sustainable seafood is increasing in Europe, North-America and even Asia. Cod and haddock are white fish species that are very appreciated by French consumers. That the MSC ecolabel displayed on these fishery products is very important because it lets consumers know that these species were fished in a sustainable way."
Edouard Le Bart, MSC Country Manager France, adds: "My congratulations to the EURONOR shipping company, Compagnie des Pêches Saint-Malo, and the FROM Nord producers’ organisation, whose coordinated approach and good fishing practices have borne fruit and made it possible to obtain MSC certification for cod and haddock. This certification also enlarges the offer of MSC labelled seafood caught by French shipping companies. Cod and haddock now join the North Sea saithe, Brittany sardines, and Normandy and Jersey lobster that are already MSC labelled, and show the growing importance that French fisheries attach to obtaining recognition for their good practices."
- For more information on fisheries that are involved in the MSC programme, please go to: www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/all-fisheries
- See the list of MSC-labelled products sold in your country: www.msc.org/where-to-buy/product-finder
About the three partners
 EURONOR, Comptoir des Pêches d’Europe du Nord, was born in January 2006 from the merger of two deep-sea fishing companies of Boulogne-sur-Mer: Société Boulonnaise d’Armement Le Garrec, founded in 1929, and Nord Pêcheries, founded in 1945. EURONOR, which is since 2011 a subsidiary of UK Fisheries Group (50% is hold by the icelandic Samherji and 50% by the Dutch Parlevliet & Van der Plas), is today a major player in saithe fishing in Europe that employs some 150 sailors and officers on seven vessels, mainly fishing saithe in the North Sea. Three of them are freezing trawlers dedicated to cod and haddock fishing at the end of the year in the northeast Arctic Ocean. EURONOR obtained the first French MSC certification in March 2010 for its saithe catches.
 Compagnie des Pêches Saint-Malo comprises a fleet of 3 fishing vessels operating in European, Norwegian, Greenlandic and Faroese waters. The Compagnie des Pêches Saint-Malo group counts 100 sailors and officers. On board, the crews fish, pack and freeze seafood that is distributed in Europe, Asia, North Africa and Middle and Near East. Compagnie des Pêches Saint-Malo and Scapêche, another fishing company in Brittany, obtained MSC certification for saithe in January 2011 and MSC re-certification in January 2012.
 The FROM Nord, founded in Boulogne-sur-Mer in 1965, comprises deep-sea fleets of the harbours of Boulogne (EURONOR), Saint-Malo (Compagnie des Pêches Saint Malo), and Fécamp (France Pélagique)n and also 202 traditional ships : trawlers, dredge and gillnetters landing in the harbours of Boulogne, Calais, Dieppe, Fécamp and also of the Bay of Biscay.