Alaska pollock RFM certification reassessment underway

Alaska pollock fillets in a pile.

The Reponsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification reassessment process is underway for the Alaska pollock and cod fisheries. 

The public comment period for the assessment opened 19 December, 2022, and runs to 19 January, 2023. The comment period will be followed with the certification determination by the third-party certification body, DNV, which will determine whether the fisheries can be recertified or not.

RFM is a third-party certification program for wild-capture fisheries that ensures either traceability or responsible seafood sourcing. The program has two available certifications: the fisheries standard and the chain of custody standard. The fisheries standard certifies the origin of sustainable seafood and provides proof of sustainable sourcing, and the chain of custody certification allows an applicant that buys seafood from a certified fishery to make that certified claim on the packaging.

The two certification reports for pollock and cod describe the assessment team and peer reviewers, the background of the fishery being assessed, the assessment process, outcome, and scoring of the fundamental clauses, and the non-conformance and corrective action plan. The recertification process occurs every five years with annual surveillance audits during that period of time.

RFM has invited stakeholders to comment with recommendations or criticisms – supported by data or literature citations – to be reviewed by the DNV. Stakeholders may comment on specific sections of the report or specific scoring rationales or indicators, regarding the factual contents of the report.

The Alaska pollock fishery has been split into three stocks in the report due to its wide geographical range: Eastern Bering Sea pollock, Aleutian Islands pollock, and Central Bering Sea-Bogoslof Island pollock. 

The Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) fishery is widely found around the eastern Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, and Gulf of Alaska, and in 2014 had a wholesale production value of USD 468.7 million (EUR 441.8 million). It was the second-largest fishery by volume in Alaska at that time. 

Photo courtesy of ffolas/Shutterstock 


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