Germany North Sea saithe trawl
Certified as sustainable on 8 October 2008.
Species: Saithe (Pollachius virens)
Location: EC waters: ICES Sub-Area IIa, IIIa, IIIbcd, IV
Fishing methods: Demersal otter trawl
Vessels: 30 trawlers, of which only 7 are continuously engaged in the saithe fishery accounting for 60-90% of the annual saithe landings.
Number of fisheries: 1
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More about German saithe
Juvenile saithe are mainly distributed in nursery grounds inshore, in sheltered bays and coastal waters along the west and south coast of Norway, the coast of Shetland and the coast of Scotland. Around age 3 they gradually migrate from the costal areas to the northern part of the North Sea, mainly along the shelf edge, where the feeding grounds of the adult part of the stock are situated. Age at maturity is between 4 and 6 years. Spawning takes place January-March at about 200 m depth along the Northern Shelf edge and the western edge of the Norwegian deeps. Larvae and post-larvae are widely distributed in Atlantic water masses across the northern part of the North Sea, and around May the group appear along the coasts of Norway, Shetland and Scotland. The west coast of Norway is probably the most important nursery ground for saithe in the North Sea.
When saithe exceed 60-70cm in length the diet changes from plankton (krill, copepods) to fish (mainly Norway pout, herring, sandeel, haddock and blue whiting). Large saithe (>70cm) show a highly migratory behaviour, and the feeding migrations extend from far into the Norwegian Sea to across the Norwegian deeps to the coast.
More about the fishing methods
Saithe in the North Sea are mainly taken in a direct trawl fishery in deep water near the Northern Shelf edge and the Norwegian deeps. Norwegian, French and German trawlers take the majority of the catch. In the first quarter of the year the fisheries are directed towards mature fish in spawning aggregations, while concentrations of immature fish (age 3-4) often are targeted during the rest of the year. In recent years the French fishery deployed less effort along the Norwegian deeps, while the German and Norwegian fisheries have maintained their effort there. The fishery in the related Area VI consists largely of a directed French, German, and Norwegian deep-water fishery operating on the shelf edge, and a Scottish fishery operating inshore. In both areas most of the saithe do not enter the main fishery before age 3, because the younger ages stay in inshore waters.
Minimum landing size for saithe is currently 35cm in the EU zone and 32cm in the Norwegian zone (south of 62°N).
Most of the fish caught by the saithe-trawlers (Pollachius virens) are tendered to Kutterfisch-Zentrale GmbH in Cuxhaven. This company mostly undertakes primary processing to fillets and sells them wholesale to German domestic customers but also to Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and France.