Sustainable German Brown Shrimp Fishers

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
21 January 2010, at 12:00am

GERMANY - "The full assessment of the German North Sea brown shrimp fishery to the internationally recognised Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard is now commencing, said a delighted Knud Bumann, secretary of the Association of Brown Shrimp and Coastal fishers.

The owners of 177 shrimp vessels will have their fishing activities analysed by an independent certifier to assess whether they operate in a sustainable manner in line with the MSC standard.

If the assessment demonstrates that the fishery is sustainable, the fishers may label their catch with the blue and white MSC ecolabel. The MSC logo is a clear and simple way for traders and consumers to recognise sustainably caught fish and seafood. The assessment against the MSC standard will be led by independent certifier Food Certification International (FCI).

The brown shrimp (Crangon crangon) lives in the southern North Sea and the Wadden Sea and is fished by all countries bordering these waters. The most significant fishing nations in terms of catch of brown shrimp are the Netherlands and Germany. The 177 German vessels under assessment land about 11,000 tonnes of brown shrimps annually, which amounts to roughly 30 per cent of the total tonnage of brown shrimp caught in the North Sea.

The German brown shrimp fishery has a long tradition and considerable economic value in the country’s fishing sector. In the last three years the fishery achieved an annual turnover of about €40 million. Furthermore, the fishery is an important factor of the region’s tourism and identity. The grey and beige coloured shrimps with their reddish meat are a delicacy that is listed on every menu in the coastal towns of Germany.

The North Sea brown shrimp has a short life cycle and reproduces quickly. “However, sustainable and environmentally sound fishing practices are a must in order to conserve the unique ecosystem of the Wadden Sea and make long-term exploitation of the shrimp stock possible”, comments Marnie Bammert, Country Manager for MSC for Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

The German brown shrimp fishers rise to this challenge. “During the MSC assessment the fishers will jointly develop perspectives and measures to ensure that the impacts of our activities on the marine habitat and its inhabitants are kept as low as possible. To this end we will define binding management rules for the stock and will reduce by-catch in the medium term through technical measures”, adds Mr Bußmann.

“German traders increasingly demand proof that fish and seafood has been caught responsibly and sustainably. We hope that the assessment to the MSC standard will also support our fishers in maintaining a decent and stable income”, Mr Bußmann remarks.