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First Tropical Shrimp Fishery To Be MSC Certified

by the Fish Site Editor
09 November 2011, at 12:00am

SURINAME - Suriname is celebrating a special premiere: The Suriname Atlantic seabob shrimp fishery has become the first tropical shrimp fishery in the world to achieve MSC certification as a sustainable and well-managed fishery.

Products from this fishery may now bear the MSC ecolabel, identifying their origin from a sustainable source.

Nearly two years ago, The Heiploeg Group commissioned the assessment on behalf of 20 vessels based in Suriname to be carried out by independent certifier Food Certification International Ltd.

The certification of the Atlantic seabob fishery to the MSC standard will be celebrated in Suriname with a seabob cocktail party on 9 November 2011. At the event, representatives of the Suriname Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries (LVV) and both fishing companies, Heiploeg Suriname and Namoona/SAIL, will be presented with the MSC certificate.

The fishery for the Atlantic seabob shrimp (Xiphopenaeus kroyeri), a small-sized short-lived shrimp, takes place in the coastal waters of Suriname and is located within the Guyana-Brazil Large Marine Ecosystem. Shrimp fishing is the fourth largest source of exports in both Suriname and Guyana.

Using twin-rigged otter trawls, the fishery runs year round and is carried out by two companies, Heiploeg Suriname and Namoona/SAIL, under 20 licenses. The annual landings are approximately 10,000 metric tonnes, which is over 90 per cent of the Suriname seabob landings. Therefore the seabob fishery is quite important for local livelihoods. Suriname seabob products are mainly sold into the European and North American markets as peeled small meats used in salads, toppings and as breaded products.

For the managers of the seabob project, Chris Meskens and Ralph Sanders of The Heiploeg Group (location Morubel NV Belgium), the MSC certification of the seabob fishery marks an important milestone in the development of the seafood market: "This acknowledgement makes the seabob shrimp a very special shrimp - its the first sustainable tropical shrimp with a true story. The MSC certification means a lot more than just a label on our seabob products; its a reward for all the people who have supported our efforts to lift this fishery up to the MSC standard: the fishermen, Heiploeg Suriname, the Suriname fishery department, Namoona/SAIL and scientists. This MSC project demonstrates the positive impact an industry player can have on a fishery and on fishery management.

MSC Chief Executive Rupert Howes is delighted to congratulate the fishery on achieving the MSC certificate: The certification of the Suriname Atlantic seabob shrimp fishery shows how the MSC programme encourages collaboration between stakeholders to meet market demand for certified sustainable seafood while realising a shared vision of healthy and productive marine eco-systems."

"I congratulate the fishery and all partners involved in getting to this point. This has been a challenging process. The pre-assessment identified several issues that had to be addressed if the fishery was to meet the MSC standard. In resolving these challenges, the fishery, its partners and the Suriname government have implemented changes that will deliver environmental benefits and which provide a model for other fisheries in the region to follow.

the Fish Site Editor