The Marine Stewardship Council announced during the National Fisheries Institute’s Global Seafood Market Conference that the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) has won a 2021 Ocean Champion Award.
“Even during sort of normal times, it’s important to celebrate accomplishments,” MSC Americas Regional Director Erika Feller said. “To me, that makes it so much more important to take a moment to pause and celebrate our collective accomplishments as an industry.”
The Ocean Champion Award was established to acknowledge and celebrate the MSC’s allies in the industry that have gone “above and beyond” their MSC commitment, Feller said.
“This year, it seemed clear to us that recognition of the level of the wild Alaska pollock fishery and fishing industry is probably long overdue,” Feller said.
The award was accepted by GAPP CEO Craig Morris and Global Seas CEO and GAPP Board Member Bob Desautel.
The award is a testament to the industry’s efforts to have a sustainable product, Morris said.
“This is GAPP’s award, but in all honesty, GAPP just has the privilege of telling the story of wild-caught pollock and Alaskan pollock as a fish,” Morris said. “It’s a sustainable fish and that sustainability is not about the fish itself as often as the passion of the fishermen, their dedication, and their ingenuity and all the things that they do to ensure this fish and this fishery is going to sustain itself for generations to come.”
Desautel said the passion of the fishermen to reduce bycatch and increase sustainability over the last few decades is how GAPP earned the reward.
“This award really is about the industry, the wild Alaska pollock industry,” Desautel said. “I’ve been in this fishery for over 40 years, and we’ve been laser focused on trying to be an efficient fishery.”
The At-Sea Processors Association (APA) was also given MSC's 2021 Ocean Champion Award in December 2021.
The MSC U.S. Ocean Champion Award is an annual award that was established in 2017 to reward fisheries and companies engaged in the MSC program who demonstrate continued leadership on sustainability. Past award honorees include the Annette Island Reserve Salmon Fishery/Metlakatla Indian Community, Bamboo Sushi and the Sustainable Restaurant Group, Bar Harbor Foods, EcoFish, Sam’s Club Health & Wellness Team, TransOcean, US Foods, Vital Choice Seafood, and Whole Foods Market.
"Awardees are selected based on their demonstrated leadership and the ability to spark positive change within the industry," MSC said.