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MARESCO A/S entered the Faroe Islands’ North East Arctic cold water prawn fishery into assessment for MSC certification yesterday.

The decision follows the successful certification of the Faroe Islands’ silver smelt, cod and haddock fisheries and the assessment will be carried out by independent certifier Det Norske Veritas.

The fishery is currently represented by Maresco’s three vessels: Havborg FD 1160, Sermilik II VN 668 and the Arctic Viking VN 123. In 2011, the total catch of the fishery was 4,500 MT.

The fishery takes place all year around in the Barents Sea (ICES I and II, FAO 27) using small-mesh trawl gear.  Most of the fishing takes place at a depth between 250 and 400 metres and the deepest fishing ground is around 800 metres. The main product of the fishery is raw prawns for the peeling industry, cooked shell-on for Europe and China and raw shell-on shrimps for sushi, which has its main market in Japan and most European countries.

The Barents Sea cold water prawn stock is shared with the Russian and Icelandic fleets, and the Norwegian fleet, which gained MSC certification earlier this year in March.

Gisli Gislason, MSC’s Icelandic consultant, says: “The fact that this fishery is entering MSC assessment is yet another Faroese commitment to sustainable fishing. Certification of this fishery means an increased number of Faroese vessels committed to the MSC program as well an increased volume of MSC certified cold water prawns available for world’s market. We warmly welcome this development and are pleased to see the Faroe Islands cold water prawn fishery entering the full assessment process, working towards MSC certification.”

Maresco’s managing director, Eydun Durhuus, says: “This is yet another step forward for the Faroese fishing fleet in order to comply with customers’ demand. In this specific case it is the Faroese prawn fleet that is next in line to work towards MSC certification. For many years, our fleet has been working closely with gear manufacturers in order to develop new selective fishing gear in order to maintain sustainable prawn stocks. MSC certification is a natural part of our effort to remain as responsible and sustainable actors in the North East Atlantic prawn fishery to the benefit of our valuable customers worldwide.”

Maresco A/S, which specialises in shellfish, was founded in 2003 and its three vessels catch, process and pack the shrimp in the company’s own brand boxes ensuring high quality and freshness of the product. The largest prawns are frozen whole and usually sold to Japan; the medium sized prawns get cooked and frozen whole and sold to Scandinavian markets (Denmark, Sweden). The smallest prawns are frozen shell-on and sold to a peeling industry for further processing.

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