Waves (English)

Award for sustainable fishing in the Basque Country and Laredo by MSC.


We feel pleased that our Anchovy from the Cantabrian Sea was awarded the blue Eco-label by MSC (Marine Stewardship Council).


A Basque harbour. Photo by Asier Larraza.


The MSC organism have confirmed that the Cantabrian Anchovy captures are sustainable and environmentally friendly. This certification was obtained as a result of an independent assessment by the Bureau Veritas, under the MSC label for sustainable fishing. The fleet consists of 58 ships which caught 7000 tons in 2013.

This assessment has made clear that the population of anchovies is healthy and that the fishing activity is suitably managed, and that the marine environment is duly looked after.


Photo from Teinteresa.es

As it has already been explained by Conservas Olasagasti, the first shoals appear in April. The Basque fleet uses a very selective and environmentally friendly fishing method. The anchovy is caught by means of special nets (“redes de cerco”). The fishing boats surround the anchovy shoal circling it in a 360º angle. When the task is completed the net is fastened at the lower end and this prevents the anchovies from escaping. This net is hoisted and the fish is collected with a landing net.

It is important to know that the fishing is controlled and sustainable: Every year the biomass is worked out in April; then, the fry (small fishes) is counted in October. The following season fishing quota will be based on the results of that investigation.


They still use the traditional landing net. Photo by Asier Larraza

Today, with this distinction, announced by the MSC in Getaria (Basque Country) on March 27th, this is the first time the Cantabrian anchovy fishing activity has been honored with this international prestigious accreditation; Moreover, it has also been the first time for this species in European Seas.

This is a milestone within the Cantabrian fishing activity since they have reached the recognition for the work carried out by the fishing fleet, the Administration and the Scientist in favour of the sustainability of our anchovy.

The assessment requested by MSC has established that the situation of our anchovy is healthy because the fishing activity is well managed, hardly damaging our marine ecosystem.

Not only have public institutions and ecological organisms supported all preservation measures of this Cantabrian delicacy, Conservas Olasagasti have had their word collaborating with the institutions aiming at respectful fishing methods and responsible consumption. For this reason, Olasagasti totally agreed when the anchovy fishing ground was closed between 2005 and 2010, which contributed to the recovery of the species.


MSC highlighted all these facts as well as the improvement of the managing policies. And as Laura Rodríguez, MSC Spain and Portugal Country Manager, explained, «There is high commercial interest in the MSC certified Cantabrian anchovy. European consumers increasingly seek the sustainability credentials granted by our certification, as well as the known quality of Cantabrian anchovies and the closeness of the fishing grounds. The certificate is open, so other fleets will very probably join soon, broadening the offer of Cantabrian products bearing the MSC ecolabel».

Finally, here are some dishes with our Olasagasti Basque Anchovies to celebrate the news. Enjoy them!


Olasagasti Anchovies a la Basque. Photo by Because



Olasagasti organic Anchovy fillets from the Cantabrian Sea in extra virgin olive oil. Photo&recipe by Marta Olass



Olasagasti Anchovy fillets in olive oil on a vegetable pizza. Made by Matteo Orlando.



A healthy Olasagasti Anchovy salad.


A jar of Olasagasti Cantabrian Anchovy fillets in olive oil.

A jar of Olasagasti Cantabrian Anchovy fillets in olive oil.




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