Two Pacific cod fisheries gain MSC certification
Jan 29, 2010
Two Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) fisheries, one located in the Gulf of Alaska (GoA) and the other in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI), have earned Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification having been independently assessed and found to be sustainable and well managed. The certification covers four methods of fishing for Pacific Cod in the GoA and the BSAI—longline, trawl, pot and jig.
Pacific cod is sold internationally, with North America, Europe and Asia being the primary markets. This popular whitefish is used to produce fillets, salted cod (bacalau) and frozen headed and gutted fish blocks that are reprocessed into various products all around the world.
About the fisheries
Both the GoA and the BSAI Pacific cod fisheries are managed primarily by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) in federal waters, and Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) in state waters.
The client for both fisheries is the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF). AFDF is a non-profit foundation that has worked in support of the commercial fishing industry in Alaska since 1978. For 32 years, it has focused on sustainable harvest and full utilization of the harvested fishery resource. The total allowable catch of Pacific cod in the BSAI management area for all gear types in 2010 is 168,780 tonnes. The total allowable catch of Pacific cod in the GoA for all gear types in 2010 is 59,563 tonnes.
What the client says
Jim Browning, executive director of AFDF, said “It’s been a relatively long process because our foundation chose to go for certification of all gear types and both management areas in Alaska, but our Pacific cod working group members are pleased to finally achieve the certification of sustainability from MSC that indicates again that Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council are excellent precautionary management agencies.”
What MSC says
Kerry Coughlin, regional director for MSC Americas, said “We’re pleased to welcome AFDF and these two Pacific cod fisheries into a growing number of MSC-certified fisheries. There is great demand for cod in international markets and buyers are eager for expanded supplies of MSC-certified Pacific cod from Alaska. We anticipate that this certification will result in additional cod products bearing the MSC ecolabel, which will increase the opportunity for consumers to choose seafood that has been independently verified as coming from a sustainable, well-managed source.”
About the certifier
Moody Marine Ltd. was the certifier in both fisheries’ assessments. During the assessments, the three principles of the MSC standard were evaluated in detail: the status of the fish stock, the impact of the fishery on the marine ecosystem and the management system overseeing the fishery. As with all MSC-certified fisheries, these fisheries will undergo annual surveillance audits. More information about the GoA and BSAI fisheries and their assessment results can be found on MSC’s web site in the Track a Fishery section at www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/certified.
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