Aquaculture for all
The Fish Site presents: The Vienna Sessions - Conversations about aquaculture. 9 video interviews with aquaculture thought leaders. Watch here.

First Silver Smelt Fishery Gains MSC Certification

Sustainability Post-harvest Politics +3 more

FAROE ISLANDS - The Faroese fishery of Great Silver Smelt has been successfully certified in accordance with the Marine Stewardship Councils (MSC) global standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

Lucy Towers thumbnail

Great silver smelt (Argentina silus) taken from this fishery are now eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel and the Faroe Islands fishery is the first MSC certified silver smelt fishery in the world. The assessment was carried out by independent certifier Det Norske Veritas.

Silver smelt fishing takes place around the Faroe Bank and Faroe Plateau in the North East Atlantic (FAO area 27, in ICES division Vb2). The fishing season stretches from April to September with the greatest landings made in July and August and the six vessels take 95 percent of the total Faroese silver smelt landings. The fishery uses lightweight semipelagic demersal trawls and catches 20.000 tonnes annually of which 8000 to 12.000 tonnes is turned into to mince. With Europe as the main market for great silver smelt, minced products are sold to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England, Scotland and Ireland with approximately 70 per cent sold to Norway.

Joen Magnus Rasmussen, managing director of Tavan SP/F, the fishery client, says: We are delighted and proud that the Faroe Island Silver Smelt Fishery is now certified against the MSC standards for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. The company aspires to consistently provide customers best quality products from a sustainable source. We are confident that the MSC certification will help us achieving our sustainable goals for now and the future.

Hanus Hansen, CEO of the factories Ksin and P. P. Faroe Pelagic and four of the silver smelt vessels in the certificate, adds: We are very proud to get the first silver smelt fishery MSC certified. We are proud to be part of an industry based on a sustainably managed fishery. With this certificate we expect to strengthen the supply to the UK market as well as to new markets in the EU.

Gisli Gislason, MSCs Icelandic consultant says: We appreciate this fisherys commitment to sustainability and congratulate the Faroe Island Silver Smelt Fishery with its certification. This is the first silver smelt fishery in the world to obtain MSC certification, which is a milestone. Silver smelt is a less well known species among consumers, but is used in many seafood products, from gratins, to frozen breaded products, to Scandinavian fish balls. This certification now allows these products to carry the blue MSC eco-label, which will ease consumers choices for sustainable seafood. In the light of growing consumer recognition of the MSC ecolabel, this will reward the Faroese Silver Smelt fisheries MSC certification.

With 60 employees, Tavan annually processes around 8.000 - 12.000 tonnes of silver smelt. As a pioneer and leading purchaser and processor of silver smelt in the Faroese Islands, Tavan serves its home market with portions of minced silver smelt since the early 1990s. While this market has remained stable over the years, exports have climbed progressively. The company is constantly exploring new opportunities through product and market development. Next to processing silver smelt, the company also produces a range of saithe products, such as fresh saithe loins.

With 270 employees Hanus Hansen, the CEO of JFK, manages the factories Ksin and P. P. Faroe Pelagic and four of the six silver smelt vessels Stjrnan, Polarhav, Vestmenningur and Fram. The two factories produced annually approximately 12,000 tons of great silver smelt caught by the vertically integrated silver smelt vessels.