GREEN LABEL OF SUSTAINABILITY SOUGHT FOR LARGEST U.S. FISHERY
The At-sea Processors Association (APA) is seeking certification of the U.S. Bering Sea pollock fishery under the rigorous environmental standards developed by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The MSC is a fully independent organization created to promote well-managed, sustainable fisheries worldwide.
In announcing the initiative, APA executive director, Trevor McCabe, stated, The Alaska pollock fishery is an excellent example of a fishery in which scientists and managers are setting conservative harvest levels to ensure sustainability, and the presence of federal fishery observers onboard vessels provides for accurate catch measurement and scientific data collection. We believe the pollock fishery will pass muster with the MSCs standards and provide further assurance to consumers that U.S. pollock products come from a responsibly managed fishery, McCabe added.
The MSC developed a scientifically based set of Principles and Criteria for determining which fisheries are being managed on a sustainable basis. Using the performance standards set forth by the MSC, an independent certification team accredited by the MSC will conduct the assessment of the North Pacific pollock fishery. The assessment is expected to be completed within one years time. The Alaska salmon fishery, the Australian Rock Lobster fishery, and the Thames River herring fishery are the only other fisheries certified as meeting the MSCs standards.
The Bering Sea pollock fishery is the largest volume fishery in the U.S. For two decades, the sustainable annual pollock harvest in U.S. waters has topped two billion pounds and has often accounted for as much as 25 percent of the volume of all fish caught in U.S. waters.
Pollock is processed into fillet-style products, which are used to make fish sandwiches, fish tacos and frozen food portions. Pollock is also processed into a minced fish product and used as the primary ingredient in making imitation crab products. At the primary processing stage, pollock products are valued at $750 million.
APA is a seafood trade association comprised of 7 member companies that operate 19 U.S.-flag catcher/processor vessels. APA member companies account for approximately 40 percent of the annual pollock harvest.
APA is a recognized leader in promoting sustainable fisheries. Association members pioneered fish harvesting cooperatives, which have successfully resolved problems of excess fishing and processing capacity and increased substantially the amount of food made from each pound of fish harvested. In addition, APA has funded university research programs to enhance understanding of the marine environment, including making donations to establish a marine research foundation at the University of Alaska/Fairbanks.
For further information, contact Jim Gilmore of the At-sea Processors Association at (206) 669-6396.
For information about the Marine Stewardship Council, please contact Karen Tarica of the MSCs U.S. office at (206) 691-0188 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The address for the MSC website is www.msc.org