Certifier : 
Control Union (UK) Limited
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
03 Feb 2016
Certificate expires : 
02 Aug 2021


This North East Atlantic fishery straddles Faroese, EU and international waters. It uses pelagic trawls to target the blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou).

Blue whiting only began to be fished in the 1970s, but soon became a significant target species, for use primarily in fishmeal, oil and aquaculture. Today, the fish is also used for human consumption.

More than a million tonnes of blue whiting were harvested annually in the decade from 1998 to 2008, but stock levels fell dramatically, and much smaller catches were recommended (to put this in perspective, the total quota for 2011 was 40,100 tonnes, compared to the record harvest of 2.4 million tonnes in 2004).

In 2005, the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands agreed on a long-term management plan for the fishery, aiming to control harvests at precautionary levels to ensure long term sustainability. ICES monitor stock levels and advise accordingly. There have been some disputes over how national quotas are set, but generally the agreement appears to be safeguarding whiting populations.