Press release

Fresh Sustainable Seafood Catches on at WSU Dining

February 10, 2016

Partner release
With issues as broad and impactful as ocean health, day-to-day actions may seem like a drop in the bucket. However, thanks to a new initiative, Washington State University (WSU) students can enjoy their seafood at the dining centers without worrying about the negative impact of what is on their plate.

As of February, WSU became the first university in Washington state, and one of a dozen institutions of higher education around the country, to lead the way in committing to serving Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified seafood in its dining centers.

“It is really reflective of what we here at Washington State believe. Instead of waiting for trends to come to us, we take a very proactive approach to be ahead of the curve,” said Gary Coyle, director of WSU Dining Services.

The Marine Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organization, established to safeguard seafood supplies for the future. Recognized as the world’s leading certification program for sustainable, wild-caught seafood, the MSC works with leaders within the fishing industry and seafood sector to create a more sustainable seafood market.

The MSC ecolabel on a seafood product means that it is sourced from a sustainable and well-managed fishery and is traceable from ocean to plate. Close to 10 percent of the annual global harvest of wild-capture fisheries are MSC certified.

“It brings a level of confidence to our students. We now have a third-party certification which recognizes our commitment to sustainability,” Coyle said. 

Students can continue to enjoy their favorite seafood dishes at the dining center. All seafood that is MSC certified is labeled, letting students know that what they are eating is sustainably caught. The centers will also feature MSC certified seafood on Fridays throughout February and March.

“We looked at what we are currently doing in our menus, and we decided that these are types of seafood that would fit well in our recipes,” Coyle said. “We use salmon often and so we looked at an MSC certified salmon versus salmon that we got from somewhere else.”

“We congratulate Washington State University on the achievement of attaining MSC certification and serving sustainable seafood to students, staff and faculty on campus,” said Brian Perkins, MSC Americas Regional Director. “As the first university in Washington state to earn MSC certification, WSU is leading the way in contributing to the health of the world’s oceans for future generations.”

The MSC certification is just one of several initiatives led by WSU Dining Services to increase the sustainability of the food that ends up on students’ plates. In 2015, Dining Services received a two-star SPE certification. The SPE program focuses on both nutrition and the environmental impact of the foods that WSU Dining Services offers.

Dining Services also works with local farmers and ranchers to supply as many local ingredients as possible. These include produce from the WSU organic farm, berries from Walla Walla, Wash. and flour from Shepherd’s Grain, a locally based grower’s co-op.

Despite the extra effort and logistics, Coyle believes MSC and SPE are both worth it. “It’s something you have to earn. You have to put some effort forward to receive this recognition,” he said.

For more information about WSU Dining Services’ sustainable practices visit:  http://dining.wsu.edu/learn-more-about-dining/

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