Certifier : 
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
29 Aug 2012
Certificate expires : 
27 May 2028


Fisheries are composed of one or more parts, each of which is entitled to receive an MSC certificate. These parts or “units” are defined by their target stock(s), fishing gear type(s) and if relevant vessel type(s), and the fishing fleets or groups of vessels.

When the term “Unit of Certification” is used for fishing units that are in assessment, it refers to the “Unit of Assessment” or “Unit of potential certification”. Expand a status below to view the parts that form this fishery. To check the detailed scope, download the latest certificate or open the Assessments page to get the latest report. Find out more by visiting our page on Fisheries

Units of Certification & Certificate Information

View glossary of terms

Catch by Species

Species Reported Catch Year Metric Tonnes
Silver smelt (Argentina silus) 2021 8,470

Information is provided by an independent Conformity Assessment Body as live weight (the weight of species at the time of catch, before processing) and where a fishing season covers multiple years, the end year is given as the reported catch year. Additional information is available in the latest report, see the assessments page.

Eligibility, client groups and vessel lists

A fishery may choose to define the members of the fishery certificate. These members can be vessels or other client group members (e.g. companies that own vessels and/or companies that are named as eligible to handle certified product covered within the fishery certificate scope). Please refer to the fishery certificate statement on additional product specific eligibility criteria (e.g. product eligibility limitations, eligibility date, exclusive points of landing and the point where Chain of Custody certificate is required). Please consult the fishery Public Certification Report for product eligibility rationale.

Documents Published on Files
Vessel List 17 Jun 2024 1 files

About this Fishery

Great silver smelt (Argentina silus) image © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book

The greater silver smelt (also known as greater or Atlantic Argentine, herring smelt or simply smelt) is a long-lived fish found around the sub-Arctic rim of the North Atlantic, and as far south as the Bay of Biscay. Although catches are taken throughout the distribution, the three major directed fisheries in the NE Atlantic are off Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway. 

The greater silver smelt is a deep-water fish that swims in schools close to the seabed, typically at depths between 200m and 600m. Larger fish tend to be found in the deeper water. Greater silver smelt grow slowly, reaching sexual maturity at any age from 4 to 12 years, and reach a length of up to 70cm.

The Faroe Island vessels use lightweight semi-pelagic (bottom-skimming) trawls that are rigged and fished to avoid contact with the seabed. Research is ongoing to map out corals, sponges and other marine habitats in Faroese waters, and several coral areas have been closed to all fishing.

As a small-scale fishery, the impact of the Faroe Islands silver smelt fishery on ecosystems and fish stocks is low. However, as condition of certification, the fishery is supporting more detailed research into the structure of the silver smelt population in order to determine biologically sound harvest limits.

Market Information

The EU is the main commercial market for Faroe Islands smelt.