Certification renewal by Marine Stewardship Council covers Alaskan Salmon fishery through 2012
by Craig Weatherby
The wild Alaska Salmon fishery, which harvests more than 160 million Salmon a year, has been re-certified as meeting the environmental standards for sustainable fishing set by the independent Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
Re-certification means wild Alaska Salmon can continue to use the MSC’s blue eco-label on products around the world, which is good news for environmentally-aware shoppers who want to buy Salmon from well managed sources.
The Alaska Salmon fishery was originally certified in 2000, when it was the first US fishery to achieve MSC certification.
The fishery has now completed a thorough re-assessment by Scientific Certification Services (SCS), which verifies that Alaska’s commercial fisheries for King (Chinook), Sockeye, Silver (Coho), Pink and Chum (Keta) salmon continue to be sustainable and well managed.
The certificate is valid for five years, subject to regular surveillance audits.
Vital Choice Alaskan Salmon products are allowed to bear the distinctive blue MSC eco-lable because chain-of-custody audits prove that the Salmon we sell actually come from the MSC-certified Alaskan Salmon fishery.
(Some of our canned Sockeye Salmon comes from British Columbia, whose Salmon fishery is undergoing certification review by the MSC. Currently, this fishery is managed by Canada’s Federal Department of Fisheries and Ocean. It is contiguous with and highly similar to the Alaskan Salmon fishery, so MSC certification is anticipated.)
In addition, the MSC certifies the sustainability of the North Pacific Sablefish and Halibut fisheries, and the North Pacific troll-caught Albacore Tuna fishery—whose delicious catches we are proud to offer as well.
The State of Alaska certifies the sustainability of its King Crab and Weathervane Scallop fisheries, which is why we feel very comfortable offering these superior shellfish to our customers.
(Canada’s Federal Department of Fisheries and Ocean certifies the sustainablity of the fishery that produces our unique, additive-free Pacific Spot Prawns, which are harvested from a small boat that sails Canadian waters between Washington State and South Alaska.)
The recertification process analyzed 16 different units of the fishery, reflecting its complex nature, geographical spread and varied techniques and gear, such as drift gillnet, seine, troll and fishwheel.
The fishery is made up of many small boat operators, as Alaska state law limits the size of salmon fishing boats to 58 feet for a purse seine vessel and 32 feet for a gillnet boat.
Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the MSC, made this ocmment in the MSC press release: “I am absolutely delighted that the recertification process has concluded successfully. Having seen the fishery in operation this year from Bristol Bay up to Emmonak near the mouth of the Yukon River there is no doubt that this is a very special and iconic fishery.”
- Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Alaska Salmon Re-Certified for Sustainable Fishing. Accessed online November 5, 2007 at http://www.msc.org/html/ni_322.htm
- Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Certified Fisheries. Accessed online November 5, 2007 at http://www.msc.org/html/content_484.htm
- Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). British Columbia Salmon. Accessed online November 5, 2007 at http://www.msc.org/html/content_493.htm