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Quality and sustainability define hake from Celeiro

  • Over the past 20 years the Puerto de Celeiro SA Producers Organization 77, supported by the know-how of the almost 1,200 workers that operate the fi shing fl eet and the market of Celeiro, has worked to strengthen the marketing of its members’ fi sh and seafood products. The PO highlights the quality of hake of Celeiro – certifi ed to carry the Galicia Calidade label – and the environmentally sustainable hook and longline fi shing gear – recently certifi ed by Friend of the Sea (FoS).

It was only two years ago when the PO established a multiyear plan for the complete certification of the hook and line fleet that operates from its fish market and harbour. The organisation had decided it would use the FoS standard, as it was more in line with the PO’s
philosophy and spirit and because it took into account the selectivity of the fleet, with strict and rigorous criteria in terms of discards, as well as the social dimension, guaranteeing European standards to all our crew members. These elements were essential for the PO.

Certification was straightforward thanks to a history of sustainable fishing

The fleet has been working for years with scrupulous environmental and social sustainability criteria. The objective: to maintain activity and profitability in the long term. This has greatly facilitated the certification because, in many cases, it was only necessary to document what was done and implement protocols, such as for the prevention of accidental catches of birds using “tori lines” or for the correct management of plastic waste on the high seas.

All the fish caught are individually labelled as “Friend of The Sea”, and this information and what it implies is transmitted to the final consumer. Only if the hake carries the FoS label, it is Celeiro’s sustainable longlined hake. This commitment to the FoS certification is also a marketing strategy.

It shows that not all fish are the same – they are not treated with the same care along the value chain nor with the same commitment to social and environmental responsibility. It is necessary, therefore, for the PO to differentiate its activity and product at the point of sale, as well as to accommodate the preferences of the consumer and, above all, to acknowledge the good practices of the fleet.

Innovative projects to improve quality and environmental friendliness

In October 2017 the PO signed an agreement with Anfaco-Cecopesca as another step towards environmental excellence and improved product quality. Innovation is in our DNA, says Eduardo Míguez López, deputy director of Puerto de Celeiro, who intends with this initiative to improve processes and technologies linked to the handling carried out on the vessels. In particular, the hook and line hake, which is caught one by one, can be treated individually and with the utmost care. In addition, the agreement reflects the PO’s commitment to the environment in which it conducts its activity and supports its efforts to contribute to the achievement of cleaner and healthier oceans.

Th e agreement consists of three phases:
– Specific and practical training to improve hake cleaning (cleaning of other species will be considered in later stages). It is directed at the crews, and specifi cally those in charge of handling the fish immediately after bringing it on board. The crew are instructed on improvements in cutting and eviscerating: how the cut is to be made for evisceration, how to remove the viscera, and the subsequent cleaning of the abdominal cavity. This training is being carried out in the facilities of the fish market by Anfaco-Cecopesca staff and in collaboration with Novomar, a company of the Puerto de Celeiro Group.
– The second phase consists of finding a simple technology, which does not affect the daytoday work of the crew, nor disrupt the living conditions on board the vessels. The technology should allow the byproducts generated on board to be treated and returned to the sea without affecting the environment and without increasing the workload of the crew.
– The third phase consists of the implementation and validation of this technology on board.

Committed to garbage-free oceans

Puerto de Celeiro SA Producers Organization 77 is committed to achieving healthier and more sustainable seas and thereby to the fight against marine litter and plastics. In the case of plastics, the PO works with owners, crews, associated companies to ensure that all the disposable plastic used by the crew is collected and brought to land to be managed properly. In addition to this material, the plastic sheets used to cover the hake before adding ice, is also delivered to the port for recycling. Fifteen years ago, the PO joined the Industrial Group Plastics Ferro in the search for a new waterproof container, which met all the sanitary requirements and was also reusable. The synergies between Plásticos Ferro and
Puerto de Celeiro gave rise to the company TEPSA, in which Puerto de Celeiro is a shareholder, and from which it is supplied with 100% recyclable high density polyethylene boxes. Damaged or broken boxes are collected by TEPSA and recycled.

Puerto de Celeiro won the Alimentos de España 2017 award from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment, thanks to its selective fishing methods. These methods have also had collateral benefits. Environmentally, the specialization in hook fishing has meant a significant reduction in the average fuel consumption and generation of CO2 emissions by the fleet. Discards are at a very low level and the fleet has been certified to the Friend of the Sea sustainability standard. Socially, Celeiro is a traditional fishing community which has progressed in parallel with its fishing sector. Celeiro’s longlined hake festival is the best example of Celeiro’s joy and pride in fishing.

Consumers in Spain have shown a willingness to pay a higher price for Celeiro›s longlined hake, which enjoys enormous prestige thanks to its quality and sustainability certifications, Galicia Calidade and Friend of the Sea.

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