Friend of the Sea announces an important break-through in the French seafood market, as Gel-Pêche products obtain the international sustainability certification following audit by independent certification body.
According to the latest official stock assessments reported by FAO, the Penaeus species fished by Gel-Pêche suppliers in Madagascar – Refrigepêche and Crustapêche – are not overexploited and no overfishing is occurring.
Bycatch is greatly reduced by the use of TEDs (Trawler Excluders Devices), preventing bycatch of turtles and limiting it to 28% of non-target species. On January 10, 2007, also the United States Department of State certified Madagascar has adopted a TED program comparable to that of the United States and is enforcing its program in a credible manner.
A bycatch reduction program which aims to reduce discard to a minimum is in place. Indeed only a negligible part of the bycatch is discarded as most of it is consumed locally. Bycaught species are not included in the IUCN redlist and consist mainly of turbot, sole, croaker, scad, sardines and mackerel.
Qualified official observers supervise the fishing operations, on board the 250HP vessels. Use of VMS is compulsory and at least 24 positions have to be transmitted daily from each vessel to the national authority for fishery surveillance, together with fishing effort and catches. VMS control and periodical surveillance by the coastal guard allow for respect of the several Marine Protected Areas and fishery regulations. Fishing is prohibited during the two months spawning season. The fishing zones are distributed among the vessels which have obtained a regular license, following authorization from the Commission Interministérielle des Pêches (CIP) and based also on stock status information.
Gel-Pêche handles approximately 3500 Tons of shrimps per year and has become an important reference for the French and European market and for the retail chains private brand. Conscious of ecological concerns, Gel Pêche is committed to a sustainable, responsible fishing program which respects both the environment and the Malagasy population.