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Offshore fishery for Greenland halibut recertified by the MSC

M/tr Avataq

The offshore fishery for Greenland halibut in West Greenland was in November recertified for the next five years as a sustainable fishery by the MSC.

During spring in 2017, the offshore fishery for Greenland halibut was MSC certified for a period of 5 years. The certification was the result of a common effort by several Greenlandic stakeholders, including fishers, the industry, and Greenlandic authorities, who joined forces in the organization Sustainable Fisheries Greenland alongside an independent auditing company, who handled analysis, documentations and inspections of catching methods, biological data, equipment, and factories.

Now, 5 years later, the fishery has been recertified based on the MSC standard. The evaluation of the fishery especially emphasizes that the stock of Greenland halibut is healthy and that there is a well-structured management plan for the fishery, that identifies how relevant aspects and hotspots in the fishery have been implemented and documented. The catch methods (longline and trawl) were also highlighted as a positive, as they lead to a minimum of by-catch due to e.g. large mesh sizes.

For fishing grounds with large numbers of cold-water corals, sponges, and sea pens, the MSC further recommends fishing bans in order to safeguard these habitats. In general, the fishing grounds are by choice limited to a few areas, whereof minimal effect on these organisms are expected.

About the fishery

About the 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. 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 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.

Next news: Royal Greenland signs contract for a fifth new trawler