Certifier : 
Control Union Pesca Ltd
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
26 Jul 2011
Certificate expires : 
26 Oct 2021


Situated in the Waddenzee and Zeeuwse delta of the Dutch coastal region, when this fishery was certified in July 2011 it became the first large mussel fishery in Europe to achieve certification. Blue mussels occur predominantly in estuaries and can withstand a wide variation in environmental conditions.

The fleet is made up of 65 vessels, which fish using two or four mussel dredges. These consist of a metallic net (usually 1.9 metres wide) supported by a steel bar frame which is dredged along the sea bottom. When the net is full it is emptied into the boat hold.

The industry has frequent dialogue with environmental organisations and the government to improve sustainability. Mussel seed (known as ‘spat’) no longer only originates from the wild seed fishery, but is increasingly captured with spat collectors, such as underwater ropes, which intercept the seed as it floats towards the sea bed and are easy for fishers to access without impacting on the habitat. Area closures are another area of improvement. 

"The desire to certify the Dutch mussel fishery came from the Dutch mussel trade. Important clients, particularly supermarkets, are asking for MSC certified fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Abroad, the first smaller mussel fisheries obtained MSC certification. In order not to lose our place on the shelves, we started the MSC assessment process in 2009." 

"To us, MSC certification is the ‘licence to produce’. It is the reward for the sustainability measures that we have introduced over the years.”

- Hans van Geesbergen of the Dutch Producers’ Organisation Mussel Culture

Mussel (Mytilus edulis) image © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book