ASPA on second salmon certificate: It’s not over yet


Sean Murphy, SeafoodSource online editor

Published on
July 9, 2015

The Alaska Salmon Processors Association (ASPA) is not giving up on negotiations with a collective of Alaska salmon processors over membership to ASPA’s salmon certificate with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), despite an announcement earlier this week that the processors are going a different route.

“We remain in discussions,” Rob Zuanich, ASPA’s executive director, told SeafoodSource.

Earlier this week, Glenn Reed, president of the Pacific Seafood Processors Association (PSPA), announced the PSPA was pursuing a separate salmon certificate with the MSC. If the PSPA gets it, the new certificate will allow an alternative route for a number of Alaska salmon processors to get MSC certified.

The processors – which include Trident Seafoods, Alaska General Seafoods, Alaska Glacier Seafoods, Bering Pacific Seafoods, Big Creek Fisheries, Deep Sea Fisheries, Great Pacific Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, Icy Straits, Kwikpak Fisheries, Leader Creek Fisheries, North Pacific Seafoods, Ocean Beauty, Pacific Seafood, Pavlov Fisheries, Peter Pan Seafoods, Snug Harbor Seafoods, Taku Fisheries, Triad Fisheries, and Yukon Gold Fisheries – originally backed out MSC’s salmon certification program altogether back in 2012.

But after hearing predictions of record sockeye salmon harvests for 2015, the processors, led by Trident, have been trying since April to get onto ASPA’s certificate to make sure their product will be able to sell in certain markets such as Europe that are demanding MSC-certified salmon (Stefanie Moreland, director of government relations at Trident and the unofficial spokesman for the processors, did not respond to requests for comment from SeafoodSource this week). ASPA, in response, initially refused to allow it, leading to lengthy talks and negotiations that have made little headway.

Reed told SeafoodSource the PSPA was aware of the ongoing dispute, and acknowledged that four of the processors seeking admission to ASPA’s certificate – Trident, Alaska General, Peter Pan and North Pacific – are among PSPA’s members, but said the PSPA itself was a bystander in the negotiations with ASPA.

“We were not involved in those discussions,” Reed said.

Reed said PSPA’s board of directors, at its 18 June meeting, decided to pursue an MSC certificate if negotiations between ASPA and the processors continued to stall. On Friday, 3 July, Reed said the board’s chairman called him and gave him the go-ahead to pursue a certificate.

Reed said any processor looking for MSC certification for salmon is “welcome” to join PSPA’s group if it gets the certificate. While Reed acknowledged this would allow processors to avoid the ongoing ASPA dispute, he said he wished it didn’t have to come to this.

“Our preference would have been to join the existing clients,” Reed said.

Zuanich, when asked about the PSPA’s move, said he had “no thoughts,” and had no further comment.

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