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Alaska Salmon Fishery Re-certified as Sustainable

13 November 2013

US - Global seafood markets can continue to source MSC certified Alaska salmon and apply the MSC ecolabel, after a scientific, stakeholder-engaged, third-party assessment by Intertek Moody Marine (IMM) determined that 13 units of certification meet the MSC Standard as a sustainable and well-managed fishery.

The Prince William Sound unit remains in assessment pending additional data. The 13 recertified units cover all other Alaska salmon. The Alaska salmon fishery was first certified in 2000 and re-certified in 2007. This third certification was undertaken by the 400-member Purse Seine Vessel Owners Association serving as the client along with a group of Alaska salmon processing companies, and it establishes a new milestone by becoming the first US fishery to receive a third certification in the MSC program.

PSVOA opened the certificate to other companies to voluntarily join and these primary processors have signed on to be part of the client group: Copper River Seafoods, International Seafoods of Alaska, Ekuk Fisheries, 10th and M Seafoods, Silver Bay Seafoods, Hoonah Cold Storage and one anonymous company. In order for Alaska salmon to be eligible to make the MSC Claim, it must have gone through one of the members of the client group.

Speaking on behalf of PSVOA Bob Kehoe, executive director for PSVOA, said: "The MSC program has brought sustainability to the forefront, reinforcing 50 years of responsible state management and the unique qualities of Alaska salmon. This recertification offers a valuable and independent assurance to buyers that the fishery is sustainably managed."

Kerry Coughlin, the MSC’s regional director, Americas, said: "MSC has appreciated our longstanding relationship with Alaska's fishing industry and we are pleased that Alaska salmon has become the first fishery in the program to demonstrate its sustainable management to global markets through a third certification. With extensive buyer commitment to MSC certification as part of sourcing, certification translates to recognition of quality fishery management in Alaska and value for the fishers and industry participants."

MSC re-certification of the Alaska salmon fishery comes at the beginning of the important winter holiday season when demand is highest.

Alaska salmon from the 13 units of certification caught after February 1, 2013, and following MSC CoC requirements, is eligible to carry the MSC ecolabel. The target eligibility date precedes the 2013 salmon fishing season. All named primary processing companies on the fishery certificate have a Chain of Custody certificate. In order to make a claim of MSC certification any subsequent companies simply need valid CoC certification with Alaska salmon in their scope. Addition information can be obtained from the PSVOA or a MSC commercial outreach contact.

The Alaska salmon fishery operates within U.S. territorial waters adjacent to the coast of the State of Alaska and in rivers that terminate in Alaska. Salmon are harvested by nets, including drift, set and purse seine, and by trolling and fish wheel; the latter operates like a water-powered mill wheel and includes baskets to catch fish. Alaska salmon fresh, frozen and canned products are sold primarily in Japan, Europe and the United States. Overall, Alaska salmon products bearing the MSC ecolabel are sold in 21 countries today.

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