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Grupo Regal Spanish Hake Longline Fishery

Sustainability +1 more

SPAIN - The Grupo Regal Spanish hake longline fishery, from the northeast Atlantic, will be assessed against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard for sustainable and well managed fisheries. This is the first Spanish fishery to seek MSC certification and the first longline hake fishery to enter the MSC programme.

If successful, hake products from the fishery will be eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel. The MSCs blue ecolabel gives consumers a quick and easy way to identify the best environmental choice in seafood.

As part of the MSC certification process, the status of the entire northern hake stock will be assessed against the MSC Standard. Grupo Regal has announced its willingness to share the certificate with other Spanish licensed longliners targeting the European northern hake stock. If the fishery is certified, Spanish-licensed vessels operating in the area will also be able to display the MSC logo on their catch, subject to negotiations on joining the certificate with Grupo Regal.

MSC runs the most rigorous certification and eco-labelling programme for sustainability in wild-capture fisheries. An independent evaluation of the Spanish hake longline fishery will be conducted by a team of experts who will examine the status of the fish stock, the impact fishing has on the marine environment and the effectiveness of the fishery management system.

The Spanish hake fishery dates back to the mid-20th century. The EU northern hake stock is currently targeted by approximately 50 Spanish longliners. Hake longliners are based in other Spanish fishing ports such as Celeiro, Burela, Aviles, Ondarroa, Vigo, Riveira and Cedeira.

Management arrangements for Spanish vessels operating in this area are determined by the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the European Union. The overall allocated TAC for hake in EU waters is 51,500 tonnes for 2010. All Spanish licensed vessels have a total allocated TAC of around 11,000 tonnes of which the total annual catch for Grupo Regal is 1,100 tonnes. About 98 per cent of their total production is sold in the domestic market, while a further two per cent is exported to France.

Mr Juan Antonio Regal, Managing Director, said: Wed like to prove our commitment to sustainability and we have chosen the MSC programme because of its international renown, its credibility and its science-based and rigorous methodology for the certification of well-managed and sustainable wild-capture fisheries.

"Wed like to be the first fishery in Spain to work with the MSC to help develop a sustainable seafood market for future generations. We hope that consumers will value what makes our hake different: wild, fresh, of high quality, longline-caught, fished responsibly and sustainably and traceable from European waters.