MSC: ‘We regret withdrawal’
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) on Tuesday reacted immediately to word that eight major Alaska salmon processors are phasing out financial support for MSC certification of Alaska salmon by 29 October, when the current certificate expires.
“We regret that the Alaska salmon fishery is being withdrawn from the assessment underway for a potential third certification period,” said Kerry Coughlin, MSC Americas regional director, in a statement. “While there are other sources of MSC-certified salmon, Alaska was an early and important leader in the MSC program. We hope that this fishery will re-enter assessment, maintain the market advantage of MSC certification and continue to showcase their sustainability.”
According to the MSC, the third assessment was announced by the Alaska salmon fishery on 18 November. A certifier had been engaged by the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (the client), the first site visit in the assessment process had been scheduled for later this month in Alaska, and a number of conservation organizations had registered as stakeholders.
Though the decision is a blow to the MSC program, Coughlin expressed confidence in the program and emphasized that it continues to grow.
“The number of fisheries and supply chain companies using the MSC program continues to expand worldwide, and consumer appreciation for the MSC eco-label on products is increasing,” she said. “MSC remains the recognized global standard by which fisheries confirm they are meeting or improving to global best practice in sustainable fishing as established by a wide consensus of scientists, industry experts and conservation organizations. By demanding a scientifically rigorous, transparent certification process using truly independent, third-party assessments, seafood markets around the world are helping to protect our ocean resources as well as seafood related jobs and livelihoods now and for the future.”