Alaska Atka mackerel and rockfish fisheries gain Alaska RFM certification

Published on
March 4, 2020

Alaska’s Atka mackerel and rockfish fisheries have achieved Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification.

The Alaska RFM was created by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) in 2010, and in 2016, the scheme became the first to be benchmarked by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative.

The certification was confirmed in a 3 March from ASMI, which said the certification was awarded on 14 February after an assessment by an independent four-person evaluation team from DNV GL. The fisheries entered into assessment in July 2019.

“Both Alaska rockfish and Atka mackerel fisheries were found to have met the comprehensive science-based criteria of the Alaska RFM Fishery Standard, which focuses on six key components: the fisheries management system, science and stock assessment activities, a precautionary approach, management measures, implementation, monitoring and control, and serious impacts of the fishery on the ecosystem,” ASMI said in an email. “Once certified, these fisheries, just like all RFM Certified fisheries undergo annual audits and are reassessed every five years.

The new certifications cover the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea fishery, which consists of Atka mackerel, Pacific ocean perch, and northern rockfish, and the Gulf of Alaska fishery, which consists of Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, and dusky rockfish. 

The client for the certification is the Alaska Seafood Cooperative, a group of catcher-processor fishing companies that includes Fishermen’s Finest, North Star Fishing Co., Ocean Peace Inc., O’Hara Corporation, and United States Seafood.

Companies selling products originating from the newly-certified fisheries can use the RFM Certified eco-label for all fish caught on or after 17 June, 2019, so long as they have chain of custody RFM certification, according to ASMI.

“The Alaska Seafood Cooperative applied for RFM Certification because of [its] confidence in Alaska’s historic leadership and dedication to responsible fisheries management,” ASMI Board Member and Trident Seafoods Executive Vice President for Global Species Management Allen Kimball said. “We are so proud to have our fishermen and system validated. Being able to make a product claim on fish caught from 17 June, 2019, forward will help our industry meet their customers desire for certified sustainable Alaska rockfish and Atka mackerel.”

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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