Norway has received Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for its cold water prawns (Pandalus borealis) from the Barents Sea as sustainable and well-managed.
This latest certification means that Norway has the highest proportion of MSC certified fisheries in the world - a total of 73.6% of all wild fish caught and exported from Norway is now certified. Norway’s total catch in 2011 was 2,288,600 tonnes and this equates to 1,660,000 million tonnes of MSC certified seafood being exported every year.
This is broken down in to;
• Herring – 633, 500 tonnes
• Cod – 340, 000 tonnes
• Mackerel – 208, 000 tonnes
• Saithe - 190, 300 tonnes
• Haddock – 159, 500 tonnes
• Krill – 110, 900 tonnes
• Prawns – 20, 000 tonnes
Its largest cold water prawn fishery is now MSC certified. Norway is already internationally recognised as a world leader in sustainable fisheries management and this latest MSC certification officially recognises Norway’s commitment to the sustainable management of cold water prawn fishing in the North East Arctic. It is only the second country in the world, after Canada, to receive MSC certification for cold water prawns, demonstrating its commitment and leadership in the sustainable prawn fishing industry.
Norwegian cold water prawn fishing is a year round industry, with most landings between the summer months of May and September. The UK is the second biggest market with 23% of the catch exported to UK markets with a value of £12m in 2010.
The species that has been certified is more commonly recognised as the small prawns that are often used in salads and sandwiches. They glow in cold, clear waters with temperatures ranging from 0˚C to 8˚C, meaning that they grow slowly. This gives them a much sweeter taste than warm water prawns, as well as firm flesh and a beautiful and vibrant red colour.
Ove Johansen from the Norwegian Seafood Council, said: “We are delighted that our largest prawn fishery has received MSC certification and official recognition that its cold water prawns are sustainably harvested. We are incredibly proud of our sustainability record and will continue to work hard to ensure that this continues for years to come whilst maintaining our tradition of managing our fisheries in harmony with nature.
MSC certifications not only highlight Norwegian seafood as a leading voice in the market place but also provide UK consumers with the peace of mind that they can enjoy sustainable Norwegian prawns for many years to come.”
Camiel Derichs, MSC Deputy Director Europe says: “During the assessment of the fishery, the certifier found that Norway’s Barents Sea cold water prawn stock is in excellent shape, that exploitation levels are moderate to low and that the impacts of this fishery on other species and the ecosystem in the Barents Sea are limited. I congratulate the fishery on an excellent result and the MSC looks forward to working with our partners in Norway and more widely to help promote MSC certified Norwegian prawns.”