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The AGARBA Group will be able to continue marketing its products with the MSC blue seal

AGARBA, the first Spanish fishery to achieve MSC recertification for the second time

Click on the flag for more information about Spain SPAIN
Friday, April 19, 2024, 01:00 (GMT + 9)

The path of fishing sustainability of Grupo AGARBA continues, which after 10 years of being certification under the MSC Fisheries Standard, achieves a new certification period of five additional years.

It has become the longest-running certification in Spain and Portugal, demonstrating the good work and sustainability of the fishing practices of this association.

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) announces that the AGARBA Group (National Association of Cod Fishing Vessel Owners) has achieved for the second consecutive time the MSC recertification for cod (Gadus Morhua) caught with the trawling technique in the Sea of Barents.

The AGARBA Group will be able to continue marketing its products with the MSC blue seal since it has successfully passed the MSC evaluation, the most demanding fisheries audit process worldwide, and backed by science, which demonstrates the sustainability of this fishery. . .

Independent certifier Bureau Veritas has carried out the assessment against the three principles of the MSC Sustainable Fisheries Standard: the health of the fish population caught, the impact of the fishery on the marine ecosystem and the effectiveness of its management.

AGARBA is a member of the Vigo Shipowners' Cooperative (ARVI) and was formed by Velaspex SL, a family business based in the Basque Country with extensive experience in the fishing sector and Pesquera Áncora S. L. U., a company located in the port of Vigo that belongs to the Group UK Fisheries. It holds 66% of the total quota of Spanish cod that is caught in the NAFO[1] fishing grounds and in the Barents Sea (EEZ[2] of Norway and ZPP[3] Around Svalbard). The certification is made up of two vessels: Arosa Nueve and Lodairo, whose catches total around 10,000 tons annually. The fishing gear used is trawling and operations take place in subareas I & II of ICES[4].

This fishery has been certified for 11 years and has carried out a sustainable operation that has been maintained since its certification under the MSC standard. One of the main strengths of the fishery is the health of the northeast Atlantic cod stock, which fluctuates around maximum sustainable yield and is not overfished. In addition, the stock is managed based on well-defined catch control rules that are used to calculate the total allowable catch (TAC) annually. The fishery has implemented a code of conduct that details the different procedures to minimize impacts both on other species and on the seabed. Also, AGARBA has developed its own seabed mapping in collaboration with the AZTI research center, to avoid interactions with vulnerable marine ecosystems.

“We congratulate Pesquera Ancora and Velaspex for their continued commitment to sustainable fishing, which has been converted over more than a decade into very concrete actions, based on science, to reduce the impact of fishing on the ecosystem. Cod is a highly appreciated species in Spain and Portugal, and it is very good news that consumers can continue to find cod with an MSC blue seal from the Spanish fleet.”

Laura Rodríguez, MSC program director in Spain and Portugal.

“With this recertification under the MSC Sustainable Fisheries Standard, our commitment to the environment and the sustainability of the seas and oceans is reinforced in the long term and allows us to face a better future for our fishing activity.”

Ignacio Urcola, managing director of Velaspex


[1] NAFO: Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, or Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization.

[2] ZEE: Exclusive Economic Zone.

[3] ZPP: Fisheries Protection Zone.

[4] The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, also known as CIEM in Spanish and ICES in English, is an organization that promotes and coordinates the natural resources of the North Atlantic. It was founded in 1902 and is based in Copenhagen, Denmark.


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