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The Marine Stewardship Council
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British organization watches over the world’s fisheries
by Randy Hartnell

It's a question we often get. "Aren’t wild salmon endangered?"

Contrary to a common misapprehension, wild salmon from Alaskaare an abundant, sustainably harvested natural resource. Visitors to the Sustainability Page of our Web site may have noticed the blue oval logo of Britain’s Marine Stewardship Council (Or possibly you’ve noticed it on our Alaska salmon products).

Alaska salmon was the first U.S. fishery to be certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council environmental Standard. (Certification by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is a long, rigorous process, and few fisheries can bear the scrutiny it entails.)

The wild Alaskan salmon fishery won MSC certification thanks to the region’s pristine environment and the prudence of Alaska’s salmon fisheries’ managers, who have seen and learned from the disastrous effects of over-harvesting in so many other parts of the world.

The Council employs three principles when examining a fishery’s worthiness for certification:
  1. A fishery must be conducted in a manner that does not lead to over-fishing or depletion of the exploited populations and, for those populations that are depleted, the fishery must be conducted in a manner that demonstrably leads to their recovery.
  2. Fishing operations should allow for the maintenance of the structure, productivity, function and diversity of the ecosystem (including habitat and associated dependent and ecologically related species) on which the fishery depends.
  3. The fishery is subject to an effective management system that respects local, national and international laws and standards and incorporates institutional and operational frameworks that require use of the resource to be responsible and sustainable.
The MSC certification process is arduous, but the endorsement ensures consumers that fish products exhibiting it are fully sustainable and environmentally sound. In addition to our Alaskan salmon, Vital Choice is proud to have the only fish oil supplement in the world carrying this important endorsement.

In addition to certifying that the wild Alaskan salmon fishery is sustainable, MSC also certifies specific Alaskan salmon wholesalers. I’m pleased to report that our primary suppliers have all earned the MSC seal of approval, which entails inspection of their entire operation and requires a transparent “chain of custody.”

It’s a tribute to the key players in the Alaskan salmon fishery—fishermen, processors, and regulators—that they all chose to help in achieving this rare distinction. So do your part to preserve our ocean’s bounty and look for the MSC logo next time you go shopping for fish.

Support the Marine Stewardship Council
The MSC is a vital player in efforts to preserve the ocean’s bounty, which is so important to feeding people and preserving the marine ecology. While the MSC earns fees for its certification program, it is not enough to keep this critical organization going. The MSC’s “Sea into the Future” fundraising campaign seeks to raise at least $20 million to support its programs to 2007, and put the MSC on a secure financial footing over the long term.

We urge you to visit the MSC site to contribute, purchase a great-looking MSC apron (proceeds go to MSC), or click from MSC to to purchase products, in which case 10 to 15 percent of your purchase will go to MSC.

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