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MSC sustainable certification


We want to be able to continue fishing with our family business in the long term. So we fish in the most sustainable way possible. We embrace innovations in the field of selective and environmentally-friendly fishing techniques. We also often work together with researchers to support responsible management of fish stocks.

In the past few decades responsible management of the fish stocks has begun to bear fruit. Many of the pelagic and demersal fish stocks have already been healthy for years, or are showing clear signs of recovery. This makes it possible for us to obtain sustainable certification for our fishing activities.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an independent international non-profit organisation that uses a system of certification to promote a sustainable choice for fish and fish products. MSC is one of the most well-known labels among consumers.

We have successfully applied for MSC certification for our following pelagic fisheries:
  • North Sea herring (awarded in 2006, extended in 2011 and in 2017)
  • Atlanto herring (awarded in 2010, suspended since January 2021)
  • Mackerel (awarded in 2009, suspended since March 2019)
  • Blue whiting (awarded in 2016, , suspended since January 2021)
This means at the moment 60-70% of our pelagic fishing is MSC certified. The reason for the suspension of the certificates for mackerel, Atlanto herring and blue whiting is of a political nature. The EU and Norway and other Coastal States such as Iceland and Russia have not succeeded in agreeing on unanimous, international agreements on the management of the stocks in the past years. A solution to this problem lies outside our sphere of influence. We continue fishing in the sustainable manner as we did when we were awarded the certifications. More about the way that we do that can be read in our CSR-reports

For fishing with demersal trawlers too, Cornelis Vrolijk is working towards demonstrating the sustainable nature of as many target species as possible. Currently certified for our demersal fishing is:
  • North Sea plaice – otter trawl and fly-shoot (awarded in 2012)
  • North Sea sole – beam trawl (awarded in 2019)
  • Saithe, haddock, hake and whiting – flyshoot (awarded in 2019)
  • North Sea shrimp – beam trawl (awarded in 2018)

The certification process of our pelagic fisheries is co-ordinated by the Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA). The official certificates are available at the website of the PFA.

MSC certification of our demersal fishing is co-ordinated by the Coöperatieve Visserij Organisatie (CVO). More information is available on the website of the CVO.