British Columbia spiny dogfish — MSC
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British Columbia spiny dogfish

Summary

Species:  Dogfish (Squalus suckleyi) also known as Squalus acanthias
Location: North East Pacific Ocean – Outside Migratory Stock (Areas 3C, 3D, 5ABCD & 5E) - Inside stock (Strait of Georgia, Area 4B)
Fishing methods:  Hook and Line
Vessels:  230
Number of fisheries: 2

MSC status

Certified as sustainable in September 2011.

The MSC certificate of the BC spiny dogfish fishery has been suspended at the fishery’s request, effective from 17 October 2013.  Any fish harvested from the fishery after this date and time cannot be sold as ‘MSC certified’ or carry the MSC ecolabel, until the suspension is lifted. 

This 'self-suspension' has been requested by the client as an alternative to full withdrawal of the fishery, at this time when no products are available from the fishery.  The surveillance schedule for the fishery is now on hold until further instruction is received from the fishery client.  A fishery surveillance will be undertaken, with the normal opportunities for stakeholder inputs, before this 'self-suspension' is lifted.

More about spiny dogfish

North Pacific spiny dogfish occur in both the western and eastern North Pacific. In the eastern North Pacific spiny dogfish are distributed from Baja California to the Aleutian Islands, but are most common from the central Gulf of Alaska to central California.

Reproduction in North Pacific spiny dogfish is classified as yolk-sac with gestation lasting almost two years with litter sizes ranging from 2 to 16 pups.

More about the fishing methods

The hook and line fishery is comprised of between 15 and 230 active vessels which may fish outside
of Vancouver Island mostly in the summer and inside Georgia Strait all year long. Average
vessel length is about 14m. A typical set is about 3 hours in duration and is comprised of 2.4 km of bottom longline with 1,000 to 1,500 size 13-16 circle hooks baited with a variety of species including herring, pollock, salmon and squid.

Commercial market

Unlike many other species, dogfish are not filleted. The belly flaps are cut out, the fins removed and the body is skinned leaving a white loin or "back".  The belly flaps are exported to Germany where they are smoked and sold as a delicacy in "beer gardens".  The fins are frozen and exported to the Orient where they are used in Japanese-Chinese cuisine.  The backs are wrapped and frozen either individually or in blocks for export to England where they are used in the "fish and chips" trade.  Backs are also sold to the food service and retail trade in the UK and in continental Europe with some sales being made in fresh form shipped by air from BC.  Other products include dried shark cartilage for the nutraceutical industry and process waste material converted into liquid hydrolyzed fertilizer for the agriculture and horticulture markets.

Actual eligibility date

10 March 2011

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