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Dutch-Danish Cooperation Doubles MSC Certified Plaice Catch


DENMARK AND THE NETHERLANDS - The North Sea plaice catch eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel for sustainable fisheries has doubled. Eight Danish vessels have now joined the certificate of the Ekofish Group, bringing the certified plaice quota to 5,000 tonnes.

The Dutch Ekofish Group North Sea plaice twinrig fishery was certified by Moody Marine Ltd. in June 2009. Its UK-registered vessels target plaice for the northern European market. The fishery uses large meshes of 120-140mm.

As a result, undesired by-catch of small fish (discards) is very limited. As part of the ongoing certification of the fishery, Ekofish Group has voluntarily agreed with WWF and North Sea Foundation to close selected areas and to participate in scientific research programmes to map the impacts of the gear on the seabed.

The impacts of the eight Danish vessels that have joined the certificate were already taken into account in the original fishery assessment. The Danish vessel owners will comply with all of the certification requirements placed on the Ekofish Group.

Louwe de Boer, General Manager of Ekofish Group says: “MSC certification absolutely gave us an edge in the market. There is a strong demand for high quality, sustainable plaice from the North Sea. We are very happy that other plaice fishermen recognised this and we can now more easily fulfil this growing demand by working together with our Danish colleagues.”

Jens Bollerup, representing the eight Danish vessels adds: “This is a true international cooperation: five UK-registered vessels owned by Dutch fishermen plus eight Danish vessels landing MSC certified sustainable plaice at certified Dutch and Danish auctions for European consumers. By joining Ekofish Group’s certificate we will be helping to ensure the economic stability of the North Sea plaice fishery by meeting the growing market demand for sustainable seafood.”

Nathalie Steins, Manager Benelux of MSC says: “This cooperation demonstrates that sustainable fisheries do not stop at national borders or country of registration, and that successful cross-border collaboration can be achieved through collective efforts of all parties involved."