Press release

Dutch hand-raked cockle fishery strives for MSC certification

September 8, 2011

The Dutch hand-raked cockle fishery has entered full assessment against the internationally recognised MSC standard for sustainable fishing. If successful, the fishery will be able to display the MSC ecolabel on its products. The fishery is being entered for assessment by the Dutch Organisation of Cockle Fishermen (OHV).

The assessment will be part-funded by a certification grant from the Dutch Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation, as part of the government’s ongoing commitment to supporting Dutch fisheries seeking certification.

About the fishery

The hand-raked cockle fishery is located in the Dutch North Sea coastal region of the Wadden Sea and Oosterschelde. There are 31 licenses for the fishery on cockles in place. The cockles (Cerastoderma edule) are caught on the mud flats in the tidal regions with a cockle rake, a kind of rake to which a netted bag is attached. The members of the Dutch Organisation of Cockle Fishermen catch between 400 and 700 tonnes (shelled cockle meat) annually. The OHV member fishermen are allowed to harvest a maximum of 2.5 per cent of the harvestable stock annually. The cockles are mainly sold on the Spanish market with a subsidiary market in France.

Long term agreement between fishery, NGOs and government

"In the past year we have worked hard towards a new management system for our hand-raked cockle fishery”, says Bert Keus, OHV chairman. “Recently we concluded a long term agreement with environmental organisations, local authorities and the government to work towards a more sustainable management of the fishery. The logical next step in this process is the MSC certification of our cockles. Therefore we have asked Food Certification International to assess our fishery against the MSC standard for sustainable fisheries."

Striving for sustainable management in balance with nature

Nathalie Steins, MSC Manager Benelux: “I am pleased that the OHV has chosen to measure its sustainability against the MSC standard and pursue certification. This fishery strives for sustainable management in balance with the nature in the Dutch coastal region. The MSC assessment secures the agreement between sector, environmental organisations and the government to improve the sustainability of Dutch fisheries. I wish them all the best during their assessment."

The assessment will be carried out by independent certifier Food Certification International and anyone with a stake in the fishery can be involved. If you would like to be involved as a stakeholder, please contact Melissa McFadden, tel: +44 (0)1463 223 039.

More information


Dutch Organisation of Cockle Fishermen (OHV): Bert Keus or + 31 (0) 6 2884 2191

Key facts about MSC

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