Noordzee Vissers Consortium, a small scale Dutch fishery, has been certified Friend of the Sea for fishing Dover sole sustainably. The fishery is composed of 6 gillnet vessels operating out of the ports of Ymuiden, den Helder and Lauwersoog and fishing near the Dutch coast and islands, from March till late October. The fish is landed up to five times a week and sold fresh at the local auction of Ymuiden or directly to customers, which can rely on full traceability.
The gillnet is a passive gear and in this fishery it is placed horizontally on the seabed. Mesh size of 92 to 100 cm allows for great selectivity: only mature Dover soles are caught and 90% of accidentally caught juveniles are thrown back at sea alive. Bycatch consists mainly of turbot and limandes.
Given the passive nature of the fishing method, no impact occurs on the seabed and fuel efficiency is high with fuel consumption as low as 10% of its main alternative fishing gears for the species (Thrane, 2004). The fishermen have anyway engaged at better monitor their fuel consumption and further reduce the carbon footprint over the next 12 months. Appropriate waste management and social accountability have been also recorded during the audit run by an independent certification body.
“We have approached Friend of the Sea as we felt our efforts over the years for leading sustainable fishing practices had to be awarded appropriately” comments Yvonne Bakker-Romkes, responsible for the Quality, R&D of the group. “the audit was very strict and demanding and we are glad we were found compliant. Friend of the Sea is opening up new international markets to us and recognizes the social values historically embedded in our fishery community”.
This is the first sole fishery approved Friend of the Sea, but several other European fisheries have been approved: Norway prawns, Irish albacore, Croatian anchovies, Azorean tuna and demersal species fisheries. “There is a growing interest among European fisheries for the Friend of the Sea project” explains Paolo Bray, Director of Friend of the Sea “most of the approved fisheries are small scale and lower impact and we are proud to provide them with an accessible certification scheme as requested by the FAO Guidelines.”
Noordzee Vissers Consortium
c/o Mrs. Yvonne Bakker-Romkes
Quality, Research & Development
8321 ZE URK
M: +31 6 38 11 72 64