US Pacific whiting fishery first outside Alaska to enter RFM assessment
The Pacific whiting (hake) mid-water trawl fishery, covering U.S. federal waters off the coast of the states of Washington, Oregon, and California, is being evaluated against the Responsible Fishery Management (RFM) standard.
If found to be in compliance with the standard, the fishery would become the first non-Alaska fishery to become RFM-certified. The RFM certification program – founded by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and now operated by the Certified Seafood Collaborative – focuses on wild-capture fisheries to assure responsible sourcing practices and proof of origin.
The Pacific Whiting Conservation Cooperative (PWCC) is representing the Pacific Whiting Fishery. The PWCC is composed of four companies in the catcher-processor sector of the Pacific whiting fishery, and its goal is to promote rational harvest, optimal utilization, and minimal waste in the whiting fishery.
“At PWCC, we believe the industry is better off having sustainable seafood certification program alternatives. We anticipate adding the Pacific whiting fishery to the roster of RFM-certified fisheries will facilitate important growth of the RFM program by expanding its geographic scope, increasing the volume of RFM certified fish available to businesses and consumers, and in extending RFM’s market reach,” PWCC President Mike Luchino said in a press release.
As a cooperative, the PWCC has worked with member companies to improve product recovery rates and to decrease bycatch of salmonids and rockfish, according to PWCC Executive Director Daniel Waldeck.
“Sustainability of the Pacific whiting fishery is of paramount importance to PWCC,” Waldeck said. “We recognize that sustainable seafood certification programs provide critical information to businesses and consumers as they make their seafood buying choices. We’ve witnessed the growth of RFM certified fisheries in Alaska and see the many benefits they have derived from their RFM certifications.”
The independent assessment for PWCC will be conducted by MRAG Americas, Inc., which was recently been approved as a RFM Fishery Standard Certification Body (CB).
“We couldn’t be more thrilled that PWCC sees the value RFM offers – credibility, plus an eco-label that features origin without logo licensing fees, helping drive costs down for the supply chain. It’s an exciting time to see our industry’s growing request for choice in sustainable seafood certifications,” CSC Board Chair Mark Fina said.
Photo courtesy of NOAA