Reyktal Ltd, Reval Seafood Ltd
First Estonia prawn fishery enters MSC assessment
Oct 18, 2012
Today the Estonian North East Arctic cold water prawn fishery enters into full assessment for MSC certification. It is the first Estonian fishery to seek MSC certification. If successful this fishery will become part of a select group of prawn fisheries globally that have earned MSC certification. The client fishery operates under Estonian Fisheries Management, the EU Commission management and under NEAFC. Stock management is advised by ICES’ scientific advice.
About the fishery
The unit proposed for certification is defined as the Estonia North East Arctic cold water prawn fishery and takes place in Barents Sea (ICES division Ia,b and IIb) represented by four vessels. The fishing season depends on the ice conditions and the ice class of the vessels. The main season runs from March until October. Cold water prawns are caught by small-mesh trawl gear with a minimum stretched mesh size of 38 mm. All trawls are equipped with obligatory sorting grids, which separate by-catch of other fish species out of the shrimp trawl. Areas with high abundance of juvenile fish are closed to shrimp fishing. These measures are designed to minimise by-catch of juvenile fish. The fishery typically takes place at 250 – 500m of depth. The total catch of all nations in 2011 was 23.000 MT; the Unit of Certification caught some 4000 MT of that in 2011. ICES advised a TAC in this area of 60 000 MT.
Commercial market for Estonian prawns
The largest and medium size prawns are either cooked on board (cooked shell-on) or raw frozen for Japanese market. The cooked shell-on production is usually packed into 5kg boxes and sold to different markets depending on the demand each time. The main markets are found in Scandinavia, continental Europe, the UK, China and Russia. The production for the Japanese market is packed into one or three kilo boxes. The smallest prawn is either block of iqf frozen and sold to the peeling industry in Iceland and Norway for further processing. Ports of landing are usually in North of Norway or Iceland. Chain of Custody is expected to commence at the port of landing.
Estonian fishery committed to sustainability
Mati Sarevet, Director at Reyktal AS said: “We have followed the eco-label discussion for a while. Premium sustainability, quality and traceability has always been a top priority in our operation. Our goal is to exceed the expectations of our customers when it comes to quality and reliability. We have sensed increased awareness among our customers for eco-labeled product. This triggered our interest in the MSC program, and I’m delighted soon being able to offer our customers MSC approved product. Estonia is a country with a long tradition in fishing in the high-seas. We export the majority of our production into the most quality aware markets. We are a small country with only few vessels, but if we manage to maintain our quality focus in Estonia I believe we can continue to be an important supplier in the markets were quality matters the most.“
What the MSC says
“This is the first Estonian fishery entering the MSC program. This announcement shows the client’s commitment to demonstrate its sustainability credentials; it also reflects strong market demand for MSC certified prawn products. This is a Baltic first, and we hope that we can welcome other distant water fisheries from the Baltic States in the near future” says Gísli Gíslason, Senior Fishery Outreach Manager in North Europe.
Get involved: stakeholder participation in assessment
For further information please contact Mati Sarevet at Reyktal AS firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone with a stake in the fishery can be involved in the assessment and Det Norske Veritas has already identified 18 stakeholder groups. If you would like to be involved please contact Anna Kiseleva on Anna.Kiseleva@dnv.com