US oyster fishery MSC certification hopes

Prestige Oysters in the US is hoping to be the first oyster fishery in the Americas to be granted MSC certification Photo: Prestige Oysters Prestige Oysters in the US is hoping to be the first oyster fishery in the Americas to be granted MSC certification Photo: Prestige Oysters

The first oyster fishery in the United States has entered the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fisheries standard assessment.

If granted, Prestige Oysters of San Leon in Texas, would be the only oyster fishery certified in the Americas.

“Prestige Oysters is extremely excited to be the first oyster fishery to enter MSC full assessment in the United States,” said Raz Halili, junior vice president at Prestige Oysters. “I’m confident in our fishery’s abilities to meet certification. It is important not only to us, but also our supply chain, to ensure the highest standards are met.”

Prestige Oysters grows American cupped oysters that are native to the Texas and Louisiana waters. The company’s reefs are either natural or constructed from deposition of cultch (oyster shell, limestone, concrete, etc.) placed on soft bottom in suitable depths for oyster growth.

The assessment involves a rigorous, independent process by the accredited certification body, MRAG Americas. The fishery is scored on three core principles: health of the target stock; impacts on marine environment; and fishery management.

The process takes about nine to 12 months to complete and pre-assessment has already started. The certification decision on the company’s Texas and Louisiana oysters is expected in autumn this year.

“Oysters are an important commercial species as well as play a significant role in the marine ecosystem," said Brian Perkins, MSC's regional director, Americas. "If the fishery achieves certification, it will be validation of the fishery’s hard work to harvest oysters sustainably."

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