By using innovative freezer trawlers with on-board processing and freezing space, our members can integrate all aspects of the supply chain from the catching and processing to the distribution and exporting of pelagic fish. Whilst these vessels are larger than most other pelagic trawlers to account for freezing space (which makes up around 70% of the vessel’s size), this approach to fishing limits their carbon footprint by reducing the number of outings and therefore fuel consumption.

vessel at sea
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Fish for food

Fishing has been an important source of food for countless people for thousands of years. If we all work hard to strengthen the ties between all stakeholders and continue science-based fisheries management, fishing will remain a sustainable and responsible food supply. Pelagic fish from PFA members is a responsible fishery based on responsible and scientific management and makes an important contribution to global food security.

  • PFA members together provide about 6 million healthy and affordable meals a day.
  • 5.5 million of those meals feed families in Africa.
  • Pelagic fish has the lowest carbon footprint of all other animal proteins.

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Science-based fishing

The PFA is committed to maintaining a sustainable fishery for pelagic fish stocks, and collaboration with science and research is integral to achieving this aim.

  • As of 2014, the PFA has a science team that works closely with the vessels’ crew.
  • We have ongoing intensive international collaborations with a range of scientific organisations and research institutes.
  • Our research agenda focuses on fish populations, genetic research and different techniques and innovations used onboard to ensure sustainable fishing practices.


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Quotas and control regulations

Our members are responsible fishers, fishing within set quotas to support sustainable management of pelagic stocks.

  • Our fishing operations are strictly within the allocated quotas.
  • Whilst pelagic quotas can appear quite large, this is due to abundant and widely distributed stocks.
  • Pelagic fishing is actually one of the most tightly controlled fishing activities in the world. Because pelagic vessels are fewer in number than small-scale vessels, they are more easily monitored and better controlled. PFA members’ vessels are regularly inspected at sea by the fisheries control authorities of EU Member States.

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Our story

The PFA was officially established in 2000. Since then, there have been lots of developments in the pelagic sector, as well as in the organisation itself. Learn more about the PFA’s history: 

  • 2000

    The PFA is officially established.

  • 2006

    MSC certification is achieved for its North Sea herring fishery – the first major European fishery to achieve this.

  • 2014

    PFA starts its own research programme, one of the first fishing industry bodies to do so.

  • 2016

    First PFA self-sampling report released, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to informed and sustainable fisheries management.

  • 2017

    PFA signs the European Green Deal which aims to preserve and protect Europe’s seas and oceans.

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