North Pacific Fixed Gear Sablefish Fishery Recertified by Marine Stewardship Council

Marine Stewardship Council
The Marine Stewardship Council has certified both the North Pacific fixed gear sablefish fishery and the Northern Southeast Inside’s sablefish fishery as sustainable. Image via MSC.

The Marine Stewardship Council has recertified the North Pacific fixed gear sablefish fishery as sustainable and for the first time and has extended the rigorous certification to the Northern Southeast Inside’s sablefish fishery, as well.

“This recertification rightly acknowledges the hard work of Alaska fixed gear fishermen and fishery managers to maintain healthy fisheries in balance with marine ecosystems,” said Bob Alverson, director of the Fishing Vessel Owners Association. “MSC certification requires continued improvement in best fishing and management practices and our sablefish fisheries met all identified criteria.”

The client for MSC halibut and sablefish is “Eat on the Wild Side,” a nonprofit of the FVOC and Deep Sea Fishermen’s Union. MSC first certified the North Pacific fixed gear sablefish fisheries in April, 2006.

“The addition of the NSEI sablefish fishery to the MSC certification makes solid sense both ecologically and from a marketing perspective,” Linda Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, remarked.

“Sablefish are highly migratory, with significant mixing between open ocean and ‘inside’ stocks,” she said. “The only difference is that one stock is carefully managed under the federal system and one even more conservatively by the State of Alaska.”

The Seafood Producers Cooperative, a processing and marketing co-op in Sitka, Alaska, had asked the FVOA and ALFA to work with MSC to expand sablefish certification to include the Northern Southeast Inside fishery.

“The domestic demand for sablefish, which is an exceptional deep-water fish, is growing and customers deserve to know that the fixed gear fishery is sustainably managed throughout Alaska,” Stephen Rhoads vice president of procurement for the Seafood Producers Cooperative, said. “The MSC label provides that level of confidence both in the U.S. and overseas.”