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Oregon pink shrimp fishery earns world’s first sustainable shrimp fishery certification

Oregon’s pink shrimp fishery has earned the world’s first sustainable shrimp certification under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification program.

MSC, which runs the world’s leading independent certification program for sustainable fisheries, and independent certifier TAVEL Certification Inc., awarded Oregon pink shrimp its certification on Dec. 6, thereby distinguishing Oregon’s pink shrimp trawl fishery as a sustainable and well-managed fishery. The certification also allows Oregon pink shrimp to be sold using the coveted blue MSC eco-label indicating a sustainable fishery.

“Oregon’s pink shrimp fishery has achieved a very important milestone in sustainability that will bring international attention to our state,” said Governor Ted Kulongoski. “This achievement represents a significant step in identifying Oregon as a leader in sustainable resource management.”

The certification is the result of a rigorous evaluation process, which began in 2005 and concluded this year. The MSC certification is valid for five years, after which a full re-certification must be completed again. During the certification validity period, the fishery will undergo an annual audit.

“By achieving this certification, the Oregon pink shrimp fishery has been recognized as a well-managed, sustainable fishery,” said Roy Elicker, Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which oversees operations of the fishery. “We applaud the state’s pink shrimp fishermen in achieving this well-deserved honor for Oregon.”

The Oregon pink shrimp fishery is the first shrimp fishery worldwide to be certified under the MSC program, representing a significant milestone for the international organization. MSC is dedicated to improving the health of the world’s oceans and creating a sustainable global seafood market. MSC pursues its mission by certifying fisheries that meet its sustainable standards and developing market demand for certified seafood. The MSC model is based on consumers rewarding sustainable fisheries by choosing seafood that originates from certified sustainable fisheries.

What the MSC says

“This really is a milestone event, the first certified shrimp fishery in the world!” said MSC Americas Director Brad Ack. “Oregon’s pink shrimp fishery has demonstrated its sustainability by achieving MSC certification, which makes it possible for consumers to now make the best environmental choice when purchasing shrimp.”

The sustainability certification comes on the heels of a successful pink shrimp season that resulted in more than 20 million pounds of pink shrimp landed by the fleet, and sold at $0.47 per pound, the highest price the commodity has enjoyed in eight years.

What the Oregon Trawl Commission says

“This is an important accomplishment for our fishermen who harvest Oregon pink shrimp, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who manage this fishery,” said Brad Pettinger, Director of the Oregon Trawl Commission, which represents the Oregon pink shrimp fleet. “Although we produce just two percent of the world’s coldwater shrimp supply, Oregon is leading the way for other shrimp fisheries and providing a best case example of how to run and manage a sustainable fishery.”

Sometimes referred to as bay or salad shrimp, Oregon pink shrimp are small, usually ranging in size from about 100 to 140 whole shrimp per pound. Fished from the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean, Oregon pink shrimp are harvested using the most advanced trawl methods. Following short at-sea trips and immediate on-board icing, the shrimp are delivered to shore for cooking, peeling, and freezing, resulting in an extremely fresh product that is considered some of the most flavorful shrimp in the world. Canned and frozen shrimp are available year round, and fresh shrimp are typically available at local markets from Apr. 1 to Oct. 31.

What the Oregon Department of Agriculture says

"This is a huge achievement for Oregon's pink shrimp trawl fishery,” said Katy Coba, Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. “The certifying body is an internationally recognized organization with very high scientific standards for approving the certification of a wild fishery. Certainly, this certification will help our pink shrimp fishermen maintain existing market access and gain access to new markets."

The Oregon pink shrimp fishery is the first Oregon fishery to be certified under the MSC program. The Oregon Dungeness crab fishery is currently undergoing MSC certification.

About the Oregon Trawl Commission

An Oregon state government agency, the Oregon Trawl Commission (OTC) operates under the umbrella mandate of the Oregon Department of Agriculture Commodity Commissions Program. The commission was formed by a vote of the producers in 1962, and is funded entirely by fishermen from a percentage of their catch. The OTC represents the three trawl fisheries in Oregon, which include traditional ground fish, whiting, and Oregon pink shrimp. The commission is made up of eight commissioners: five fishermen, one processor, one distributor and one public member. Commissioners are chosen from among the owners and captains of trawl vessels, processors and distributors by the director of the Oregon's Department of Agriculture

Further information

High quality b-roll footage from the press conference on December 6 is available. Photos and interviews are also available. Contact Amber Lindsey, 503-223-2168 or [email protected].

For any media inquiries please contact [email protected].

Key facts about MSC