US dominates list of areas with highest percentage of MSC-certified catch

Approximately 83 percent of the total catch from the Northeast Pacific region between the United States and Canada has been certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the certification body said in a new report.

Each year, the Northeast Pacific fishing area (which includes waters near to Northern California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea) reels in about 2.6 million metric tons of sustainable seafood, making it the area with the highest percentage of MSC-certified catch in the world. Species included in these metrics are certified salmon, albacore tuna, pink shrimp, hake, halibut, sablefish, Pacific cod and Alaska pollock.

Meanwhile, the Northwest Atlantic (including waters from North Carolina, the U.S. mid-Atlantic, New England and Eastern Canada) was named the area globally with the seventh-highest amount of MSC-certified catch, with 32 percent and 580,000 metric tons. Popular certified species for the region include swordfish, spiny dogfish, sea scallop, lobster, Acadian redfish, haddock, pollock, Atlantic halibut, snow crab, Northern shrimp and Arctic surf clam.

MSC acquired its data while working on its Annual Report 2015-2016, which noted that MSC-certified fisheries caught more than 9.3 million metric tons of seafood over the past two years, representing almost 10 percent of the total global wild-caught seafood by volume. That marks a 6 percent increase in the global volume of certified catch since the 2014-2015 report, said MSC.

What’s more, the MSC-certified supply chain has climbed 16 percent over the period since the last report.

“Between April 2015 and March 2016, the number of processors, restaurants and caterers with MSC Chain of Custody grew from 2,879 to 3,334 companies, operating in 37,121 sites across 82 countries,” said MSC. “More than 20,000 products now carry the blue MSC label and can be traced back to fisheries which meet the MSC’s world-class standard for sustainable fishing.”

“When people purchase MSC certified seafood, their choice supports fishermen around the world who are working hard to meet the world’s most rigorous standard for environmental sustainability,” added Brian Perkins, MSC Regional Director – Americas. “While we’re proud of the MSC certified fisheries here in North America, it takes a global effort to safeguard seafood supplies for the future.” 

“Fishermen on the Pacific Coast of the US and Canada are proud to be recognized by the MSC for their responsible stewardship of a renewable food resource for our countries and the world,” said Christina Burridge, executive director of the B.C. Seafood Alliance and chair of the International Association of Sustainable Fisheries. “We look forward to the day when most of the world’s fisheries can meet the MSC standard.”


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