The NSFC initiative stems from demand for nationwide cooperation between the initiators – the Urk Fish Center, MedFish and the so-called Scholteam – with the aim of encouraging a fresh way of thinking throughout the fishery process. Declining margins in the fish sector and the call for sustainability made immediate action necessary. The three initiators were all individually involved in developing activities with the same objective in mind. At the request of Minister Verburg of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, and with the aim of obtaining subsidies for a single broad-based project, the three separate projects were amalgamated in the summer of 2008 into one nationwide initiative. The project was granted a three-year subsidy of one million euros on the 5th of December, 2008.
The basic idea is to arrive at a sustainable, more robust fishery supply chain that serves the collective interest. The five objectives stated below have been drawn up to assist in the realization of this concept.
- Respond more effectively to the requirements of existing customers and consumers.
- Find/create new product-market combinations, with a focus on the core values of the products offered. The image of Plaice needs to be improved.
- Improve cooperation between the links in the chain, and ensure greater efficiency.
- Promote further the conversion to sustainable fisheries.
- Improve external communication – with NGOs and other stakeholders, for instance.
The NSFC’s focus lies initially in international market research, upon which subsequent strategies can be defined using pilot projects that demonstrate the feasibility and yield of the various options. This includes assessing the potential for creating a new regulated sustainable standard for North Sea fish.