Aquaculture for all

Eastern Channel and North Sea Herring French Fishery Enters Sustainable Assessment

Sustainability Economics +3 more

FRANCE - A new French fishery supported by the FROM Nord producers organisation has just entered Marine Stewardship Council evaluation. It is the Eastern Channel and North Sea herring fishery, a key species for one of the largest fisheries in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Haute Normandie.

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The North Sea herring (Clupea harengus) is a pelagic fish that has occupied an important place on the seafood market for more than a millennium. Today, the sustainability of this stock is at the core of the sector's concerns, and upon completion of the evaluation, if it meets the MSC Environmental Standard, the fishery, supported by the FROM Nord, could become the 14th Northeast Atlantic herring fishery to be MSC certified.

In FROM Nord’s "artisan" section, a management committee individually allocates herring quotas including quota for the fishery’s seven 18-25 metre pelagic trawlers based at the ports of Boulogne and Fécamp. Their fishing zone is located in the Eastern English Channel and the North Sea from just North of the Dutch border to the tip of Cherbourg.

Herring is one of the most important species in terms of volume for FROM Nord. In 2013, the artisan ships unloaded 5,618 tons, the majority being destined for transformation (filleting, canning, salting) and the rest heading for the fresh market.

Evaluating the effectiveness of management measures

The evaluation process will cover the three principles of the MSC Standard: the sustainability of the target stock, maintenance of the ecosystem, and the effectiveness of the fishery management system. Through this evaluation, Thierry Missonnier, Director of FROM Nord, hopes to prove the consistency of the fishery management measures: "FROM Nord has formed a management committee composed of producers for pelagic species, herring, and mackerel. Each year, it decides upon the capture quantity allocated to each ship."

The approach taken by this fishery is part of a global movement to preserve the North Sea herring stock, as explained by Edouard Le Bart, Manager of MSC France: "For centuries, many fleets have fished Eastern Channel and North Sea herring, and the stock experienced difficult periods in the 1970s and 90s. We hope the MSC evaluation will be an opportunity to confirm that the stock has been restored and that this fishery is being managed sustainably. FROM Nord has already been involved in the certification of pollock, cod, and haddock, and we are pleased that they are supporting this new MSC certification project. We wish them good luck for the evaluation, which starts today."

Are you interested in the evaluation of this fishery?

To guarantee complete impartiality and to be as transparent as possible, the evaluation process will be conducted by the independent certification organisation, MacAlister Elliott and Partners Ltd. Anyone who would like to supply the certification organisation with information regarding this fishery may participate in the evaluation process by contacting Chrissie Sieben (

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