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The At-sea Processors Association (APA), representing the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska pollock fisheries in negotiations over Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, has announced it would seek reassessment of the fisheries by the MSC.

In the 20 February announcement, APA said the fisheries are certified through late 2015. Customers have asked the fisheries for the recertification, and built marketing programs around the MSC eco-label certifying sustainability, according to Stephanie Madsen, APA, executive director.

"The Alaska pollock fisheries first became certified in 2005, but they have been sustainably managed for over 35 years," Madsen said. "Sustainability certifications are an independent validation of that fact."

Madsen also noted that both the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska fisheries are also certified under the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's Responsible Fisheries Management Program (RFM), which is based on the FAO's international guidelines for sustainability. The Alaska pollock fisheries recently passed their second annual audit under the RFM program and nearly all Alaska pollock producers are certified for RFM chain of custody.

"The Alaska program is a robust, independent verification of the proper management and sustainability of the pollock fisheries in Alaska," she said. "We support both programs to allow for customer choice."

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