Copper River Seafoods Withdrawing Support of MSC

Officials with Copper River Seafoods said this week that the
Alaska-owned seafood manufacturer plans to withdraw its support of Marine
Stewardship Council fisheries sustainability certification program in 2014.
“Copper River Seafoods believes in choice, but cannot
support a certification model that failed to certify all fisheries within a
state that is a global model for sustainable fisheries management,” the company
CRS officials were prompted by the Alaska salmon fishery
public comment draft report produced by the Marine Stewardship Council, which
highlights state of Alaska fisheries management practices, including long-term
data collection, a focus on salmon escapement and the knowledge and experience
of staff employed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The report
approved 13 of 14 Alaska fishing areas, leaving Prince William Sound in
assessment pending the gathering of additional information.
“Therefore, Copper River Seafoods plans to withdraw support
for the MSC in 2014,” CRS officials said. “If the MSC chooses to certify all of
Alaska’s salmon fisheries, Copper River Seafoods will reassess weather MSC can
again be a viable option for customers.”
CRS is among more than 40 companies now certified through a
third party certification program sponsored by Alaska Seafood Marketing
Institute. ASMI began looking for alternatives to the MSC program because of
processor member concerns over the cost of MSC certification and the importance
of keeping their seafood products distinguished as wild Alaska seafood, rather
than simply certified as coming from a sustainable, well managed fishery.

ASMI announced this past week that Alaska’s salmon fishery
has completed its second annual audit of the United Nations’ Food and
Agriculture-based Responsible Fisheries Management certification program. The
audit is done to monitor any changes since the previous annual audit.