MSC OKs Alaska Salmon Fishery Client Switch
The Marine Stewardship Council says that a change of clients is permitted and is not unprecedented under its sustainable-seafood certification program.
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) earlier this week asked the London-based nonprofit whether it could be replaced as the client for the Alaska salmon fisheries, which were first certified as sustainable in 2000 and recertified last November.
In a July 22 letter to MSC CEO Rupert Howes, ADF&G Commissioner Denby Lloyd said his agency is the only fishery management agency serving as an MSC client and therefore does not benefit from the market penetration MSC-labeled seafood products, such as Alaska salmon, enjoy.
The MSC adds that a client change does not affect the value and credibility of a fishery's certificate as a globally recognized third-party verification of sustainability. The Alaskan salmon fishery's certificate is valid through 2012.
There are eight Alaskan fisheries represented by a range of clients, either certified or in assessment under the MSC program, representing more than 2.5 million tons of seafood.
The Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska pollock fisheries are MSC-certified, but the client is the At-Sea Processors Association. The North Pacific halibut and sablefish fisheries are also MSC certified, but the client is the Fishing Vessels Owners' Association.