Any national controversy regarding the terms of renewal of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act aside, there is good news for our local groundfish fisheries of the Pacific Northwest. In fact, trawlers who fish these waters for Dover sole, rockfish, black cod, and certain other groundfish have been certified, as of June 3, 2014, by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as sustainably managed. What this amounts to is that these fisheries have been shown by scientific review to be managed in such a way as to preserve marine life and ecologies, and can thus display the MSC eco-label on their products.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 10.1 billion pounds of seafood were caught nationwide by U.S. commercial fishers in 2011, valued at $1.9 billion, with Alaska catching 5.4 billion pounds of that. NOAA further reports that this is a 23% increase in volume and 17% rise in value over 2010.
It was big news this past January when eight large Alaska salmon processors announced that they would allow their Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certificates to expire without renewal this coming October. Global Trust Certification Ltd. is now conducting the majority of independent, third-party certification assessments of Alaska fisheries management systems. The certification process is through the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI). The goal is to continue to assure, through Global Trust, that Alaskan fisheries are properly managed and that they conform to established, globally accepted United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) standards. From a standpoint of consumer confidence and marketing, the certification will highlight Alaska as a source of sustainably caught seafood.
Eight large Alaska salmon processors announced this past week that, after over a decade of membership, they will allow their Marine Stewardship Council certificates to run out later in 2012. Reportedly, these processors are Alaska General Seafoods, E & E Foods, Icicle Seafoods, Kwikpak Fisheries, North Pacific Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, and Trident Seafoods. These companies comprise over seventy percent of Alaska salmon processing.