After a year-long scientific assessment, the Estonian prawn fishery has achieved certification to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard. Prawns from the Barents Sea fishery, sold in Scandinavia, throughout Europe, Russia, Japan and China, will now be eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel.
“This is the first Estonian fishery to achieve MSC certification and we look forward to welcoming other fisheries from the Baltic States in the near future,” said Minna Epps, manager for MSC, Baltic Sea region.
Abundant prawn stock, minimum bycatch
Certification to the MSC standard confirms that the stock is being managed at a healthy level, and the fishery has no unsustainable impacts on the wider marine ecosystem.
The cold water prawn stock in the Barents Sea (Pandalus borealis) is very abundant. Total catches in the fishery have, since 2006, been significantly below the permitted levels and the stock level has been close to the maximum that the ecosystem can support throughout the history of the fishery.
The trawls used by the four fishery vessels are designed to minimize bycatch through using sorting grids, which separate out other species. Permanent and temporary area closures also keep bycatch of other species to a minimum. The fishery has no impact on endangered, threatened or protected species, such as whales, seals or birds.
Mati Sarevet, fisheries director, said: “Obtaining the MSC ecolabel for sustainable fishing is a logical step in our approach to the market. Long term sustainability has always been at the heart of our company’s quality strategy, and therefore it was straightforward for us to adopt the MSC standards.'