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Sustainable capture fishery

Fischer 350- Certification currently suspended -

In spring and autumn, herring migrate to Greifswald Bodden, a bay on the Baltic Sea, to spawn. Harvesting this important food fish using anchored gillnets has a long history in this area and the industry shapes the culture and economy of the coastal region of Western Pomerania. A group of independent non-industrial fishers has been participating in the Naturland Wildfish project since 2011; they use only anchored gillnets to catch the herring.

Naturland fishers work with greater mesh widths than those officially required, thus significantly reducing the quantity of juveniles caught. In addition, they have undertaken to keep records of any seabirds in their by-catch for scientific analysis. In other respects, too, the fishers welcome opportunities to co-operate on research projects. For example, in the coming fishing season an app is to be tested which was developped by the Thünen Institute as part of the STELLA research project with the aim of improving the documentation of fishing effort deployed. The focus of the fishing project continues to be on conserving traditional and non-industrial fishing and on employing the highly selective system of gillnets which cause minimal damage to the seabed. The fair compensation of the fishers at a rate significantly higher than the market price is an equally important aspect of the scheme.

Fishing area: Western Baltic Sea 3.a. 24, FAO 27

Fishing methods: anchored gillnet

Target fish species: herring (Clupea harengus)

Number of fishermen: 24

Number of vessels: 24

Size of vessels: typical Baltic fishing sailboats, cutters up to a maximum length of 15m


The Naturland Wildfish label
A meeting of experts in Stralsund on 17th January, 2018, produced recommendations for the reexamination of product-specific management requirements, particularly with respect to a detailed survey of fishing effort depoloyed. This is important for the synchronisation of fishing with the presence of wintering sea birds and to keep exposure to threats to a minimum. Because of the poor evolution of the fish stocks, which, according to the experts, is primarily attributable to climatic influences, certification is at the moment being suspended for the 2019 season.