Certifier : 
Lloyds Register (Acoura)
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
08 Oct 2008
Certificate expires : 
07 Oct 2023


Saithe (also called coley) is a whitefish closely related to pollock, common in the North Atlantic. In the North Sea, juvenile saithe are mainly found in sheltered bays and coastal waters along the west and south coast of Norway, the coast of Shetland and the coast of Scotland. Around age 3 they gradually migrate from the coastal areas to the northern part of the North Sea. When saithe reach 60-70cm in length their diet changes from plankton to fish.

The German North Sea saithe fishery was the first German fishery to receive MSC certification in 2008 and was redertified in 2013. With a history of good management and only 2% bycatch, it scored highly against the MSC standard and few improvements were required as a condition of certification. Even though the fishery also has a small quota for cod, one of the conditions they had to meet was to lower the cod bycatch to take fishing pressure from the weakened cod stock. To help secure certification, the fishery has taken the following steps:

- new lightweight, adjustable trawl doors minimise impacts on the seabed

- nets made of lightweight yarn reduce fuel consumption and save 20-30% on fuel costs 

- wider net mesh, allowing smaller fish to escape (the mesh size of 125mm is 25% larger than the legal minimum)

- ongoing commitment to further improve environmental performance.

Saithe trawl fishers image © MSC