Monday, November 14, 2016

Some significant MSC news

Alaska's salmon fishery — with one big exception — is certified as well-managed and sustainable under the Marine Stewardship Council program.

The exception is Prince William Sound, a top salmon-producing region. The region lacks MSC certification due at least in part to questions about the impact of the Sound's large salmon hatcheries on wild fish stocks.

Now comes hope that Prince William Sound might soon achieve certification, joining the rest of the state's salmon fishery.

MRAG Americas, the company that certifies the Alaska salmon fishery to the MSC standard, recently issued an announcement that an MSC assessment of Prince William Sound salmon has begun.

The assessment, if favorable, could result in certification of the Prince William Sound salmon fishery in March 2017.

An assessment team is meeting in Juneau this week and will take up Prince William Sound on Wednesday, Amanda Stern-Pirlot, team leader for the assessment, tells Deckboss.

MSC certification is regarded as important for marketing Alaska salmon, particularly in Europe. Certification allows producers to label their product with the blue MSC ecolabel.

The Prince William Sound assessment comes at the request of the Pacific Seafood Processors Association, the Seattle-based trade group that holds the MSC certificate for the Alaska salmon fishery.


Anonymous said...

Too bad the European customers are under the impression that the Marine Stewardship Council label represents good stewardship. In my opinion they are an organization that is self interested in sustaining itself for the sake of a paycheck from various clients. MSC basically ignored high levels of Prohibited Species Bycatch for king salmon and halibut when certifying BSAI and GoA pollock trawl fisheries. I let conscientious fish buyers and consumers know that the MSC is low quality, pay to certify stewardship organization whenever the topic comes up. It is unfortunate that Alaska's effort to develop their own certification standard did not gain enough traction.

Anonymous said...

2:58....reprocessors, retailers and consumers outside of the U.S. (and particularly in Europe)wanted certification of fisheries by a body with global reach, not just by an organization focused on Alaska. Unfortunately for most salmon fishers, the majority of Alaska processors did not understand the markets preference and so let MSC coverage lapse prior to the 2015 season. It is unknown how much this cost the industry, but it must have been substantial. Better to have promoted the Alaska brand along with MSC. You'd have thought they would have clearly seen that.