Aquaculture for all

First Perch Fishery from Russia Enters MSC Assessment

Sustainability Economics +3 more

RUSSIA - The producer and owner of the brand Followfish, companies Fish &More, based in Germany, Fish-ka and Volna, both based in Russia, have entered their joint freshwater perch fishery into assessment against the MSC standard for well-managed and sustainable fisheries.

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The assessment is estimated to take 15 months and will be carried out by the independent certifier MRAG Americas. If successful, the fishery may mark its catch with the MSC ecolabel to demonstrate to buyers that it operates to the highest environmental standards.

Fishing takes place all year round, except between mid-April to mid-June, in the Iriklinskoje Reservoir in central Russia. Forty-six boats are involved in the fishery and deploy gillnets with mesh sizes of 30 to 36 mm. The main markets for the fishery are Switzerland and Canada and the main product is frozen fillet.

Opening new markets

Fish & More was founded in 1998 by Harri Butsch, his father Artur Butsch and Jürg Knoll, of Russian and German origin. Their vision was to sell Russian fish to Europe and to promote European quality standards in Russia. Giving serious consideration to the issue of sustainability, the two founders developed a powerful mission that determines everything they do: To create a 100 per cent sustainable fish brand and, together with NGOs such as the MSC, lobby for an approach to fishing that safeguards the oceans’ resources for generations to come.

Harri Butsch: "We have come a long way since our foundation. Over 95 per cent of our products are fully certified sustainable, meaning they are either MSC certified or of organic origin. We aim to get to 100% by 2015 and the MSC assessment of our perch fishery will bring us one step closer to fulfilling this commitment. Many of our customers in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and France demand independent and credible proof of sustainability, and the MSC label delivers that."

Elena Ermolova, Acting Director of Fish-ka, says: "Our companies Fish-ka and Volna have been involved in the process of improving the fisheries management of the Iriklinskoje Reservoir since 2008 to ensure our perch fishery can one day meet the MSC standard. Perch is highly valued in the world, but demand for it on the Russian market is still relatively small, and the prices are accordingly low. We hope that with the development of MSC in Russia, our perch will become in demand among Russian buyers as well".

Important step for small private fishing companies in Russia

Camiel Derichs, MSC’s Regional Director Europe, adds: "The MSC assessment of the perch fishery in Russia is a significant pioneering step for the development of small, private fishing companies in Russia that meet the highest globally recognized environmental and management standards. It is also the first European perch fishery joins the MSC program. I wish them success in the assessment and I am looking forward to their certification."

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