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Cod, Haddock Fishery Obtains MSC Certification

FRANCE - After 20 months of assessment, the North-East Arctic cod and haddock fishery has become the fifth French fishery to be certified to the MSC standard for sustainable fishing.

Already certified independently for their catches of saithe in the North Sea, the Boulogne fleet EURONOR and the Compagnie des Pches Saint-Malo embarked on a joint endeavour to obtain MSC certification for cod and haddock, supported by their producers organisation, the FROM Nord.

Holding the entire French quota for cod (Gadus morhua) and haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) in the North-East Arctic Ocean, the FROM Nord shares it each year between these two companies that have now been certified. A long-standing coordinated management model that Thierry Missonnier, Chairman of the FROM Nord, wanted to enhance: "We work in close collaboration with the subscriber fleets to ensure a sustainable management of halieutic resources. Obtaining MSC certification today is recognition of the coherency of the management measures that we have implemented around an eco-responsible fishery."

Three of EURONOR's freezing trawlers (Cap Nord, Klondyke and Nordic II) as well as the trawler Grande Hermine of Compagnie des Pches Saint-Malo, operate in this fishery. The independent certification body MacAlister Elliott and Partners Ltd and the expert team in charge of assessment found that cod and haddock stocks in the North-East Arctic Ocean were in excellent condition, and reported a controlled impact of fishing gear on marine ecosystems. Going further, an action plan will be implemented to improve the detection and protection of sensitive habitats.

For Martine Edouard Leborgne, Communication Manager at Compagnie des Pches Saint-Malo: "The MSC certification is a way to show our good fishing practices to the general public using an independent certification system that is recognised all over the world. We think that MSC certification will consolidate and develop our products on the French market and expand their export markets."

Euronor CEO Xavier Leduc confirms these expectations: "With this MSC certification, we are opting to position ourselves in an increasingly strategic market. Whereas our first certification (for saithe) was a bet on the future with the aim of enhancing the image of our fishery and attracting new sailors, this second certification responds to a market reality in which we want to have a part."

Nicolas Guichoux, MSC Regional Director - Europe, says: "I would like to congratulate and thank all the stakeholders who were involved in the certification process. The demand of sustainable seafood is increasing in Europe, North-America and even Asia. Cod and haddock are white fish species that are very appreciated by French consumers. That the MSC ecolabel displayed on these fishery products is very important because it lets consumers know that these species were fished in a sustainable way."

Edouard Le Bart, MSC Country Manager France, adds: "My congratulations to the EURONOR shipping company, Compagnie des Pches Saint-Malo, and the FROM Nord producers organisation, whose coordinated approach and good fishing practices have borne fruit and made it possible to obtain MSC certification for cod and haddock. This certification also enlarges the offer of MSC labelled seafood caught by French shipping companies. Cod and haddock now join the North Sea saithe, Brittany sardines, and Normandy and Jersey lobster that are already MSC labelled, and show the growing importance that French fisheries attach to obtaining recognition for their good practices."

Lucy Towers

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