Alaska pollock re-certified under MSC

23 Dec 2010
US fishery managers have set the 2011 BSAI pollock harvest at 1.27 million tonnes.

US fishery managers have set the 2011 BSAI pollock harvest at 1.27 million tonnes.

The Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Alaska pollock fishery (BSAI) has earned Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) re-certification having been independently assessed and again found to be sustainable and well-managed.

With the recertification of the Gulf of Alaska pollock fishery earlier this year, now all pollock from Alaska remains eligible to bear the widely respected blue MSC eco-label.  

MSC certification lasts for five years, with annual surveillance audits.  Both Alaska pollock fisheries were first certified in 2005 and entered assessment for re-certification in 2009.

Together the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska pollock fisheries comprise the largest fishery in the US and one of the largest fisheries in the world.

The recertification announcement of the BSAI Alaska pollock fishery coincides with the decision by US fishery managers to set the 2011 BSAI pollock harvest at 1.27 million tonnes, which is approximately the average catch sustained by that fishery over past 30 years of US management.  

At-Sea Processors Association (APA) was the client representing the fishery. 

Stephanie Madsen, executive director of APA, said: “Alaska pollock was one of the first fisheries to be certified under the MSC programme, and we are pleased to see the sustainability of our fishery affirmed once again. The independent scientists who conducted the reassessment assigned the fishery very high scores across the board, reflecting the progressive management approach.”

Kerry Coughlin, MSC’s regional director, Americas, said: “The assessment for re-certification confirms Alaska pollock fishery is one of the best managed fisheries in the world.  In the management of this fishery, the annual harvest level is set conservatively; bycatch levels are extremely low with  99.5% of what is caught in the nets being utilised; there is 100% federal observer coverage; and, a quota system allocates a portion of the pollock catch to local Alaska communities. With re-certification, I’m confident the Alaska pollock fishery will continue to do well in global commercial markets where the MSC eco-label is either required or highly sought after.”

The primary commercial markets for Alaska pollock products are Japan, North America and Europe.

Japan is the principal market for surimi and pollock roe products. North America and Europe are the main markets for fillets and fillet blocks.

Alaska pollock fillet products are used in fish sandwiches, fish and chips, fish fingers and a wide variety of ready-to-cook consumer meals. Alaska pollock surimi is a primary ingredient in hundreds of different varieties of surimi seafood products made worldwide. 

Pat Shanahan, program director for Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) said there is strong demand for sustainable seafood products among our European customers and growing demand in other key markets. 

“The MSC re-certification of the Alaska pollock fisheries will allow retail and foodservice customers to continue use of Alaska pollock in their sustainability programmes, and also for the expansion of sales to new markets as demand grows.  Consumers who want sustainable seafood can also be assured that Alaska pollock continues to be the best environmental choice they could make,” said Shanahan.

Moody Marine was the certifier for this assessment. 

Links to related companies and recent articles ...

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

view more