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Fishery for Greenland halibut MSC certified

23.05.2017

The 23rd of May the offshore fishery for Greenland halibut in West Greenland was awarded with MSC certification for sustainable and well-managed fishery.

The fishery is of great importance for Royal Greenland as well as for Greenland in general. Corporate Sustainability & CSR Manager at Royal Greenland Lisbeth Due Schönemann-Paul says: "We are really proud and happy with the certification of the offshore fishery for Greenland halibut in West Greenland. With the certification we will be able to meet the demand for certified Greenland halibut among our customers."

The certification is the result of a common effort by a number of Greenlandic stakeholders, including the fishermen, the industry (e.g. Royal Greenland) and Greenlandic authorities, who joined forces in the organization Sustainable Fisheries Greenland. An independent auditing company has analysed and documented the fishery over a long period of time. Biological data of the West Greenlandic stock of Greenland halibut has been analysed, catching methods and equipment has been examined, and factories have been inspected.

Well-managed fishery

The fishery primarily takes place in Baffin Bay and the Davis Strait off the West Greenlandic coast and has existed since the middle of the 1960s.  The certification covers 4 trawlers, including Royal Greenland's vessels Sisimiut and Tuugaalik. The Greenlandic Self-rule Government manages the fishery and sets the annual quota. Anyone fishing on the quota are obliged to keep a log and observe the catches. Also, nets with large mesh size are used in order to minimize bycatch of non-target species and fish under the minimum measure. The fishery is carried out according to the "move-on" principle, meaning that if bycatch exceeds 10% or corals or sea sponges are observed, the fishing vessels moves to a different fishing area. MSC deems the stock as healthy and stable.

Local processing

In Greenland, fishing companies are obliged to land a part of their catches. This means that 25% of offshore catches are landed locally and processed at factories along the coast of West Greenland. The factories are, among other things, making filets for European markets. The remaining part of the catch are fileted on board the trawlers or frozen either whole or headed and gutted. Whole fish are often sold to Asia as finished goods or for further processing locally.

Products available at the end of the year

The certification is retrospective and thus valid for the entire 2017 season. However, the blue/white logo will not appear on Royal Greenland's packaging until in the fall, when offshore fish are again landed at our factories. 

See also

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