Alaska pollock fishery re-certified

Alaska’s Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands pollock fishery has been re-certified as sustainable and well-managed under the Marine Stewardship Council program, the London-based organization announced on Thursday.

The fishery’s re-certification comes just days after the North Pacific Fishery Management Council set its 2011 quota at 1.25 million metric tons, up 54 percent from the 2010 quota.

Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Alaska pollock — the United States’ largest fishery one of the world’s largest whitefish harvests — was one of the first fisheries to receive MSC certification in 2005.

The Gulf of Alaska pollock fishery was also re-certified earlier this year; both Alaska pollock fisheries were initially certified in 2005 and entered assessment for re-certification in 2009.

“The assessment for re-certification confirms that the Alaska pollock fishery is one of the best managed fisheries in the world,” said Kerry Coughlin, the MSC’s regional director of the Americas. “In the management of this fishery, the annual harvest level is set conservatively. Bycatch levels are extremely low with 99.5 percent of what is caught in the nets being utilized. There is 100 percent federal observer coverage and a quota system allocates a portion of the pollock catch to local Alaska communities.”

Added Stephanie Madsen, executive director of the At-Sea Processors Association, “The independent scientists who conducted the reassessment assigned the fishery very high scores across the board, reflecting the progressive management approach.”

Moody Marine Ltd. served as the certifier.

Click here to view SeafoodSource’s two-part interview with Coughlin, which ran earlier this week.


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