Pollock Earns Certification for Meeting Fishery Management Standards

An independent auditing firm, Global Trust, has certified a fourth Alaska commercial fishery as being in compliance with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s responsible fisheries management criteria.

The announcement of certification of the Alaska Pollock fishery on Dec. 9 comes on the heels of similar certifications for Alaska salmon, halibut and black cod (sablefish). The certification of Alaska crab remains in process.

The announcement came this past week from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, which was directed by its board of directors to contract with Global Trust to verify that all five fisheries were in compliance with the UN organization’s code of sustainable management practices.

The certification lasts for five years and entails annual surveillance assessments.

Randy Rice, ASMI”s technical program director, based in Seattle, said ASMI’s board wanted to offer the seafood industry in Alaska alternatives to eco-label certification.

“We are not in the logo selling business,” Rice said. “This is a service to verify that Alaska fishery management practices adhere to international standards of fishery management. This is a cost effective alternative using the FAO code of conduct.

How certification of the Pollock fishery will affect the marketability of Alaska Pollock remains to be determined, he said.

The certification covers the fishery management of Alaska Pollock commercial fishery employing pelagic trawl gear within 200 miles of Alaska shores under federal and state management.

A Global Trust certification committee, composed of fishery, certification and accreditation experts performed a qualitative review of the formal processes, assessment reports and recommendations provided by the fishery assessment team and peer reviewers appointed to assess the Pollock fishery. The certification committee unanimously agreed with the assessment team’s findings that the Alaska Pollock commercial fishery is responsibly managed by effective management organizations, using robust fishery management plans and practices based on objective science and information, ASMI officials said.