Traditional Dutch fishermen sustainable fishing practices for a successful livelihood.
In the Netherlands, Louwe de Boer explains the reasons why after six generations of fishing using traditional, wasteful methods his family has embraced sustainable practices and safe nets as the way of protecting their livelihoods.
They spent about two million euros (about 2.8 million dollars) three years ago for new nets. Result it has cut doen his by-catch, animals caught along with the fish unintentionally and discarded, to a few percent. Before using the old methods, fifty percent or more of his catch was by-catch. His new safe nets are more gentle on the ecologically sensitive North Sea bed.
“It is better to innovate before being forced onto your knees by the consumer,” De Boer
Ekofish, a company owned by De Boer and his five brothers, has just obtained official credentials from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to certify that all his fish are caught in a sustainable way . This is the first such award to be given to fishers in the Netherlands.
Benefits the sustainable tag has given Ekofish:
- *better quality product,
- increase demand for fish with a sustainable tag
- Increase wholesalers in Austria, France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland
- “Our fish is sold even before it leaves the sea.”
- massive savings in fuel consumption -dropped by 70 percent,(new nets whose larger grid reduces drag)
- protect the resource from which you hope to continue making a living
- new, bigger-grid nets leave smaller fish to develop in the sea to grow to a decent size, and then get a good price
The idea is ecologically and economically sound.
The European Union had put aside 48.6 million euros (67.4 million dollars) for the sustainable renewal of the Dutch fisheries sector for the period 2007 to 2013, which together with the national government contribution comes to about 120 million euros.
Agriculture Minister Gerda Verburg of the Netherlands, one of Europe’s few net exporters of fish, recently predicted that only fishermen who can offer a product with a sustainable tag will remain viable in the future. Those few who remain will use more energy efficient engines and sustainable nets that differentiate between desirable fish and return the rest gently to the sea.
Excerpts courtesy of Seeddaily.com/Traditional_Dutch_fishermen_turn_to_innovation_for_sustainability