The Osprey Trawlers North Sea Twin-rigged plaice fishery has been awarded the Marine Stewardship Council certificate, making it the second North Sea plaice fishery to achieve MSC certification for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. The vessels of the Osprey Group will from now be able to affix the blue MSC ecolabel to their catches.
The fishery targets plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) using twin-rigged demersal trawl in the north east Atlantic. Its vessels catch approximately 2,000 Metric Tonnes annually (about 3% of EU North Sea quota). The Osprey Group's fishing season runs from 1 April to 15 November in order to avoid the spawning season for plaice.
The use of twin otter trawls to fish for plaice is a relatively recent innovation. The main reason for the change to twin rigs is the reduction in fuel used and improved condition of the landed fish. The nets have a number of features designed to reduce the discarding of unwanted by-catch and to reduce the impact on the sea floor. To protect the sea bed the Osprey Group avoids fishing in a number of areas which correspond with those previously closed by Ekofish Group.
The plaice is landed at Urk and Insula in The Netherlands but supplies markets selling whole and filleted (fresh & frozen), and breaded plaice fillets throughout the EU.
The plaice is a type of flatfish with a smooth brown or greenish brown upper-side with many vivid orange spots and bony knobs behind the eyes. Mostly nocturnal, they feed on bottom-living animals.