Officials with Copper River Seafoods said this week that the Alaska-owned seafood manufacturer plans to withdraw its support of Marine Stewardship Council fisheries sustainability certification program in 2014.
“Copper River Seafoods believes in choice, but cannot support a certification model that failed to certify all fisheries within a state that is a global model for sustainable fisheries management,” the company said.
CRS officials were prompted by the Alaska salmon fishery public comment draft report produced by the Marine Stewardship Council, which highlights state of Alaska fisheries management practices, including long-term data collection, a focus on salmon escapement and the knowledge and experience of staff employed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The report approved 13 of 14 Alaska fishing areas, leaving Prince William Sound in assessment pending the gathering of additional information.
“Therefore, Copper River Seafoods plans to withdraw support for the MSC in 2014,” CRS officials said. “If the MSC chooses to certify all of Alaska’s salmon fisheries, Copper River Seafoods will reassess weather MSC can again be a viable option for customers.”
CRS is among more than 40 companies now certified through a third party certification program sponsored by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. ASMI began looking for alternatives to the MSC program because of processor member concerns over the cost of MSC certification and the importance of keeping their seafood products distinguished as wild Alaska seafood, rather than simply certified as coming from a sustainable, well managed fishery.
ASMI announced this past week that Alaska’s salmon fishery has completed its second annual audit of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture-based Responsible Fisheries Management certification program. The audit is done to monitor any changes since the previous annual audit.