PFA plan of action

For 2013 and 2014, PFA had designed a plan of action to work on further improvements of their sustainable fishing activities. The road map contained five main priorities. Below the outcomes of the five priorities have been evaluated.

  1. Collaboration with science through an extensive pilot project in which scientific data are actively collected by our vessels
    The PelAcoustics project with IMARES and five commercial vessels is ongoing and due to be finalized in 2015.
  2. Development of a management plan for our North Sea horse mackerel fishery together with the Pelagic AC, scientists and stakeholders
    A management plan evaluation has been carried out and presented to the Pelagic AC and also formed the basis for an ICES advice on the issue. Unfortunately the current situation with North Sea horse mackerel did not lead to the identification of a sustainable management plan yet, due to the large uncertainties in the stock estimation. We have initiated a follow-up project to improve the knowledge base for North Sea horse mackerel and to link up with the knowledge base for Western Horse mackerel.
  3. Preparing the introduction of a discards ban in our fishery (as part of the reform of the European Fisheries Policy) by:
    1. Developing and investing in selectivity innovation aimed at the avoidance of boarfish in our catch
      Avoiding of boarfish has been attempted to tackle by specific escape grids in the trawl and observing the behaviour of boarfish in the trawl. Although substantial new information has been discovered on boarfish, the solution to avoid catching boarfish has not been found yet.
    2. Developing and investing in selectivity innovation aimed at the avoidance of undersized fish in our catch
      Investing in selectivity and avoidance of undersized fish in the catch has been carried via two routes: 1) improving species recognition through multi-frequency and broadband echosounders and sonars, and 2) developing escape grids in the trawls that allow unwanted species and undersized specimen to escape. All projects are due to finish in 2015.
    3. Introducing a discards ban in one of our fisheries in 2013 in advance of the formal implementation date of 2015 in line with CFP reform (pending approval by the authorities)
      A pilot project was initiated in 2013 and finalized in 2014 with one vessel already fishing as if the landing obligation was in place already. See
  4. Preparing, choosing and initiating a fourth MSC certification of one of our fisheriesa
    The MSC certification of the blue whiting fishery has been initiated in 2014.
  5. Further engaging with parties to underline the importance of the sustainable production of affordable and healthy small pelagic food for many poor consumers in developing countries
    Engagement with parties on sustainable production of small pelagic food has been carried out by many different channels, e.g. up-to-date website, the placement of four large trotters at the Global Oceans Action Summit for Food Security and Blue Growth in The Hague 2014, by the commissioning of a scientific paper on food security and fisheries and by lecturing at universities (e.g. Wageningen University, Van Hall Larenstein Applied University).


A new PFA action plan is currently under development. 




PFA represents the interests of nine European freezer-trawler companies involved in pelagic fishing activities for human consumption.

Learn more about the PFA policy of sustainable and responsible production.

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