Alaska Cod Joins Ranks of RFM Certified Seafood

Alaska’s cod fishery has joined the ranks of seafood
certified as sustainable via an Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute third party
certification program, in a growing competition over who will certify the
state’s fisheries as sustainable.
The Certification for Responsible Fisheries Management,
announced April 22, provides additional value for Alaska cod producers and
processors selling in markets where independent third-party certification is
desired, said Randy Rice, technical director for ASMI.
“Alaska cod joins the other RFM certified fisheries in
Alaska and adds to the growing list of fisheries, such as those from Iceland
and the US Gulf of Mexico that recognize RFM as a credible, independent and
efficient certification,” Rice said.
ASMI announced on April 16 that about 80 percent of Alaska’s
2013 wild salmon harvest would be certified through the same program.  
A limited supply of Marine Stewardship Council certified
Alaska salmon may also become available, pending completion of the MSC
assessment process estimated to be finished in July, ASMI said.
ASMI contracted several years ago with Global Trust, an
Ireland-based third party certification program, for these RFM certification
The effort began several years ago when processors of Alaska
seafood became concerned that wild Alaska seafood might lose its distinction of
coming from well-managed, sustainable Alaska fisheries.  That concern was prompted by growth of the
Marine Stewardship Council’s sustainable fisheries certification program,
itself a rigorous process, which gives the same stamp of certification to all
fisheries that meet its criteria. According to MSC’s website, there are more
than 11,000 MSC-labeled products on sale around the world, from prepared meats
to fresh fish.
MSC’s website also lists by species where shoppers can buy
seafood that the organization has certified as sustainable. For cod shoppers,
the site lists cod from the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska, as
well as cod from several European fisheries.
Alaska salmon was first certified as sustainable by MSC back
in September 2000, and recertified in November 2007, according to the MSC
Since then, said ASMI’s Tyson Fick, a number of suppliers
backed out of that program.  The whole
fishery will be certified under the Global Trust’s United Nationals FAO (Food
and Agriculture Organization) based Responsible Fisheries Management Program.
In order to make the certified claim, however, a supplier must have chain of
custody verified as is required by the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible
Fisheries, he said.
More information about ASMI’s certification program is at
More information about MSC’s certification program is at