Royal Frysk blue shell mussels obtain the MSC ecolabel
Apr 05, 2012
Three Danish mussel-harvesting vessels have successfully completed the assessment process for MSC certification. Processing company Royal Frysk Muscheln GmbH financed the MSC certification process and can now use the blue MSC ecolabel on the mussels harvested by these three vessels. The ecolabel tells consumers that fish has been caught using sustainable methods and that the product can be traced back to a sustainable fishery that has been certified to the MSC standard.
The MSC audit assessed the following aspects: the status of the blue mussel population, the impacts of the three vessels’ activities on the marine ecosystem, and the fishery’s management system.
Royal Frysk says
“We are delighted that the sustainable methods used by the mussel fishers have been independently confirmed and we can immediately start supplying our customers with mussels bearing the MSC ecolabel from this fishery as well. The long-term conservation of mussel stocks is very important to us as a processing company. It’s the only way we can secure our commercial basis and our future,” explains Stephan Tack, Managing Director of Royal Frysk Muscheln.
Where and how are the mussels caught?
The three vessels harvest mussels off the east coast of Jutland in Denmark, where they use dredges at depths of at least four metres. Before the dredges are lowered into the water, the fishermen locate the mussel beds using sonar and video technology. This prevents them harvesting mussels that are too small. Each dredging pass lasts no more than ten minutes.
Last year the three vessels landed 6,600 tons of mussels, which was 88 per cent of the entire mussel landings on the east coast of Jutland. The catch quotas are set and allocated annually by the Danish Directorate of Fisheries. In 2011, each vessel was allowed 270 tons of mussels per week. The mussel fishers voluntarily agreed to lower this quota to 150 tons per week in order to support responsible management and make a contribution to the long-term preservation of the mussel stocks. The harvest season is concentrated on the months of March to May and September to mid-December.
The management system
The mussel fishery’s management system is under the supervision of the Danish Commission of Commercial Fisheries. It is based on regular evaluation of biological data and on an analysis of the distribution and development of mussel stocks, which is conducted with the help of geographical information systems. The information obtained in this way enables the fishery to target the most productive mussel beds.
The MSC says
Marnie Bammert, Manager of the MSC office for Germany, Switzerland and Austria, is delighted: “The certification of the three Danish mussel vessels is an example of successful teamwork between suppliers and buyers to support sustainable fishing practices. We are very pleased with the active role that Royal Frysk played in this MSC assessment and hope that Royal Frysk mussels with the MSC ecolabel will soon be available in German supermarkets and specialist shops. Half of German consumers are already familiar with our blue ecolabel and they are bound to appreciate this certified sustainable product.”
Further information about Royal Frysk Muscheln Royal Frysk Muscheln GmbH
Royal Frysk Muscheln GmbH is a modern, medium-sized mussel-processing company. It is based in Emmelsbüll-Horsbüll in Schleswig Holstein, Germany’s northernmost state. Its suppliers include the three independent Danish mussel vessels that have just received MSC certification. Royal Frysk supplies mussels – cooked, frozen or packaged and ready to cook – to customers throughout Europe. Within Germany, Royal Frysk has a large number of customers in the Rhineland region, where there is even a regional mussel dish: “Muscheltopf rheinischer Art”.