Low discard Faroese cold water prawn fishery wins MSC certificate — Marine Stewardship Council
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Low discard Faroese cold water prawn fishery wins MSC certificate

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Dec 10, 2013

The Faroese North East Arctic cold water prawn (Pandalus borealis) fishery has been MSC certified as a sustainable and well-managed fishery. The fishery certification was coordinated by Maresco A/S, a Danish company specialising in shellfish, and includes three Faroese vessels supplying around 4,500 MT of prawns from the Barents Sea and North East Arctic Ocean.

Low bycatch and discards

The fishery scored particularly highly on its environmental impacts with mandatory sorting grids on all three fishing boats keep bycatch of other species (and thus discards) to 1-3%. The three vessels are also involved in an underwater camera project, where cameras are being installed on the trawls to see how they are working. The cameras will also provide further data about the impact the fishing gear has on the sea bed.

High prawn stocks

Prawns are found throughout the Barents Sea and around Svalbard in the North East Arctic Ocean. Despite its size, the stock is considered to be one stock and the joint NAFO and ICES assessment of stocks shows it has a good history of strong, healthy stocks dating back to the 1970s.

Eyðun Durhuus, Managing Director of Maresco A/S said: “It is a great pleasure and honour for us to achieve MSC certification, as this has become a must for us and our customers. Sustainability will always be a key word in our daily work for a long-lasting fishery in The North East Atlantic area.”

Gisli Gislason, MSC Manager Iceland, Greenland and Faroes, said: “This is the third Faroese fishery to win MSC certification in the past six months and reflects the Faroe Island fisheries’ commitment to demonstrably sustainable fishing. The low-impact and strong management of this fishery are a credit to the fishermen and the fishing companies that operate the three vessels. I’m very pleased to welcome them to join the MSC certified fisheries around the world and I hope that this will prove to be a valuable and useful certification for Maresco A/S.”

More about the Faroese cold water prawn fishery

The Faroese cold water prawn fishery is currently represented by three vessels: Havborg FD 1160, Sermilik II VN 668 and the Arctic Viking VN 123. In 2011, the total catch of the fishery was 4500 metric tonnes.

The fishery takes place all year around in the Barents Sea (ICES I and II, FAO 27) using small-mesh trawl gear.  Most of the fishing takes place at a depth between 250 and 400 metres and the deepest fishing ground is around 800 metres. The main product of the fishery is raw prawns for the peeling industry, cooked shell-on for Europe and China and raw shell-on shrimps for sushi, which has its main markets in Japan and Europe.

The Barents Sea cold water prawn stock is shared with the Russian and Icelandic fleets, and the Norwegian fleet, which gained MSC certification earlier this year in March.

About Maresco A/S

Maresco A/S, specializing  in shellfish, was founded in 2003. The company's vision is to be the most innovative and creative shrimp processor in the area, providing high quality products from their own vessels. On board the three vessels, the skilled crew catches, processes and packs the shrimp in the company’s own brand boxes ensuring high quality and freshness of the product. Processing is carried out using methods that are longstanding and traditional in the fishery: the largest prawns are frozen whole and usually sold to Japan; the medium sized prawns get cooked and frozen whole and sold to Scandinavian markets (Norway, Sweden) as well as France and China. The smallest prawns are frozen shell-on and sold to a peeling industry for further processing.

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For media inquiries, please contact media@msc.org.

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