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First Greenland fishery gains MSC certification

The West Greenland cold water prawn trawl fishery today became the first Greenland fishery to achieve certification to the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) global standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. Cold water prawns (Pandalus borealis) harvested by this fishery are now eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel – an assurance to buyers and shoppers that the product originates from a certified source. The assessment was carried out by independent certifier Intertek Moody Marine LTD.

Global markets now benefit from certified Greenland prawns

The fishery comprises an inshore and offshore fleet with a total of 21 smaller vessels and 7 factory vessels. The fishery uses otter board trawls to target prawns year round in waters along the west coast from the bay of Qaqortoq in Southern Greenland to about 740 N, off Upernavik in the northern part. The total allowable catch (TAC) in 2012 was 105.000 tonnes of which 97.675 tonnes were allocated to the Greenland fleet. The rest of the TAC is divided between in The European Union and Canada. For 2013 the total TAC is 90.000 tonnes of which 83.863 Tonnes are allocated to the Greenland fishery.

In worlds’ markets, Greenland prawn is known for its outstanding quality. Raw shell-on prawns are mainly sold to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan and cooked shell-on prawns find its markets in Scandinavia and Russia. The cooked and peeled prawns have strong markets in the UK other EU countries.

Greenland’s commitment to sustainability

Henrik Leth, Chairman of Sustainable Fisheries Greenland says:  “As we progressed towards certification, it became clear that we were involved in a demanding but also very rewarding process. We attached great importance to the fact that all parts of the fishing industry have been involved in our efforts.  The experience we have gained makes me confident of being able to document sustainability – also in our other fisheries.”

Sustainability as a principle in fisheries legislation

Ane Hansen, fisheries minister says: “Respect for nature has been a fundamental prerequisite for survival in Greenland for centuries. Our government has introduced sustainability as a principle in fisheries legislation, which made it quite natural for me and my administration to support Sustainable Fisheries Greenland in its efforts to achieve MSC certification.”

Certification Greenland of prawn fishery: MSC milestone

Gisli Gislason, MSC senior fisheries outreach manager Northern region says: “We’re delighted to announce the first MSC certification of a Greenland fishery. This achievement was accomplished as a result of the tremendous effort and collaboration between fisheries stakeholders in Greenland. Half of the value of exports from Greenland can be ascribed to the prawn fisheries, and this fishery is therefore of crucial importance both economically and culturally. I’d like to congratulate and thank all stakeholders that have been involved in this process; “MSC looks forward to continuous work with Greenland in the years to come.”