The first sustainable Cornish hake will be arriving in Waitrose supermarkets this week.

Cornish fishermen have a long history of catching hake and were Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified as a sustainable and well-managed fishery in June last year.

They work from a fleet of 15 boats ranging from 12m to 23m long, catching hake in the Celtic Sea to the west of the UK mainland and south of Ireland. Together they land just under 1,000 tonnes of European hake each year into Newlyn.

Alan Dwan, skipper of Cornish hake fishing vessel AJAX PZ36, said: “We’re really delighted that a British company such as Waitrose is taking on MSC certified and eco-labelled Cornish hake.

“It’s been a long process but we’re really happy to have Cornish hake recognised for how sustainable it is and to see it being sold as such to the UK public.

“We use highly selective fishing nets with larger mesh sizes than necessary by EU regulations so that only much bigger, mature fish are taken. It is great that hake fishing is benefiting from fishermen’s responsible behaviour over recent years.”

Jeremy Ryland Langley, Waitrose aquaculture and fisheries manager, added: “We are delighted to be the first supermarket to offer its customers MSC-certified Cornish hake.

“We promised to support the Cornish fishery when it was certified and we are delighted to be able to do so. Supporting British fishermen and ensuring we always offer our customers the best in responsibly caught fish and seafood are key priorities for Waitrose.”