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North East Arctic Cold Water Prawn Fishery Enters MSC Assessment

Crustaceans Sustainability Post-harvest +4 more

FAROE ISLANDS - Following the successful certification of the Faroe Islands silver smelt and cod and haddock fishery, Maresco A/S has entered the Faroe Islands North East Arctic cold water prawn fishery into assessment for MSC certification.

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The fishery will be assessed against the MSC standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries, and, if successful, Faroese cold water prawn products will be eligible to carry the MSC ecolabel. The assessment will be carried out by independent certifier Det Norske Veritas.

The Faroese cold water prawn fishery is currently represented by three vessels: Havborg FD 1160, Sermilik II VN 668 and the Arctic Viking VN 123. In 2011, the total catch of the fishery was 4500 metric tonnes.

The fishery takes place all year around in the Barents Sea (ICES I and II, FAO 27) using small-mesh trawl gear. Most of the fishing takes place at a depth between 250 and 400 metres and the deepest fishing ground is around 800 metres. The main product of the fishery is raw prawns for the peeling industry, cooked shell-on for Europe and China and raw shell-on shrimps for sushi, which has its main markets in Japan and Europe.

The Barents Sea cold water prawn stock is shared with the Russian and Icelandic fleets, and the Norwegian fleet, which gained MSC certification earlier this year in March.

Gisli Gislason, MSC's Icelandic consultant says: "The fact that this fishery is entering MSC assessment marks yet another Faroese commitment to sustainable fishing. Certification of this fishery means an increased number of Faroese vessels committed to the MSC program as well an increased volume of MSC certified cold water prawns available for the world market. We warmly welcome this development and are pleased to see the Faroe Islands cold water prawn fishery entering the full assessment process."

Maresco's managing director Eydun Durhuus says: "This is yet another step forward for the Faroese fishing fleet in order to comply with customers' demand. In this specific case it is the Faroese prawn fleet that is next in line to work towards MSC certification. For many years, our fleet has been working closely with gear manufacturers in order to develop new selective fishing gear in order to maintain sustainable prawn stocks. MSC certification is a natural part of our effort to remain responsible and sustainable to the benefit of our valuable customers worldwide."