Board members of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute this past week approved a $21.3 million budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, and plan to spend several million of that money on increased consumer advertising. Last year’s budget was $19.8 million.
Ray Riutta, executive director of ASMI, said the board wanted to add the consumer advertising component that ASMI hasn’t had in several years.
ASMI has also been busy talking with buyers about a decision of 27 Alaska salmon processing companies to withdraw support from the Marine Stewardship Council program for certification of sustainable fisheries. Instead they are choosing certification through Global Trust, an Irish firm with which ASMI has contracted.
Riutta said ASMI has been meeting with European buyers on a one on one basis to explain that the responsible fisheries management program with Global Trust is a very robust certification program.
Riutta said the decision of the Purse Seine Vessel Owners Association to take over as the client for MSC certification of Alaska salmon has “created a significant amount of confusion in the marketplace about how much product will be available in calendar year 2013,” when the current MSC certification of Alaska salmon fisheries will no longer be valid.
Meanwhile the 27 Alaska processors this week reaffirmed their intent to withdraw support from MSC salmon certification.
“While we recognize that PSVOA has the right to become the client for MSC salmon, it should not be construed that we have changed our minds about this decision,” they said, adding their full support of FAO-based Responsible Fisheries Management certification that was developed for the industry by ASMI and the state of Alaska.
“This fully accredited program responds to requests from many customers to provide a reasonable alternative to MSC,” they said.
Those signing the letter included 10th and M Seafoods, Alaska General Seafoods, Alaska Glacier Seafoods, Boreal Fisheries Inc., Favco Inc., Great Pacific Seafood, Great Ruby Fish Co., Icicle Seafoods, Kwik'Pak Seafoods. Kwik’Pak Fisheries, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, the Seafood Producers Coop, Trident Seafoods, Ugashik Wild Salmon, and more.
In other action, ASMI has begun seeking a new executive director, as Riutta plans to resign at the end of 2012, after a decade at his post.
The job description posted on the ASMI website, www.seafood.org/vacancy-for-executive-director-position