PFA Atlanto Scandian herring gets MSC certified


The Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA) Atlanto Scandian herring fishery today secured certification against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) environmental standard for sustainable and well managed fisheries. The MSC assessment took just 8 months. The Atlanto Scandian herring fishery is PFA’s third fishery to achieve MSC certification: its  North Sea herring and its North East Atlantic mackerel fisheries were certified in 2006 and in 2009.


Around 41,000 metric tonnes of Atlanto Scandian herring caught annually (figure 2009) will now be eligible to display the blue MSC ecolabel. In addition to its sales in the European Union, frozen Atlanto Scandian herring is sold worldwide, for example, in a number of countries on the African continent.

The fishery comprises 26 freezer-trawlers owned by ten companies from six EU-countries. Amongst these trawlers are also the Van der Zwan trawlers.  The vessels catch Atlanto Scandian herring using pelagic  midwater trawls and carry a variety of nets on board. These are designed to optimise selectivity and catching efficiency for different target species of fish.

Gerard van Balsfoort, president of PFA says: “I am very pleased that another of our important fisheries has been certified against the MSC principles and criteria. It fits perfectly in our long term objective to have a responsible and economically viable fishing operation. With this third MSC certificate we are again able to give independent and objective evidence of our sustainability”

Camiel Derichs, Manager Northern Europe of the MSC says: “The PFA has been a driving force over the last years promoting MSC certified North Sea herring, in the Netherlands and abroad. I congratulate them and Moody Marine on obtaining this certification for their North Atlantic herring fisheries in only 8 months. These fisheries are an example of a successful recovery of a once overfished species. During the MSC assessment it was demonstrated that the stock is currently around the highest level ever measured, and very carefully managed. I am confident that this certification will add to the possibilities in the marketplace for PFA”.