NPR’s recent inquiry into the Marine Stewardship Council certification process highlights some growing concerns with the non-profit’s sustainability guidelines. The MSC only certifies renewable, ecological fisheries that have very little impact on other fish species. At least that’s the claim. A few of the MSC certified fisheries, such as the recently approved Pacific pollock trawl fishery, are being heavily scrutinized for their bycatch practices. Pacific trawl fisheries are notorious for massive amount of by catch, and some speculate that the recent lack of halibut and king salmon are direct results of these trawl fishing practices. Alaska processors have lost faith with the certification process, as well. While all of the the 2012 catch will ramin certified by MSC, the coming 2013 season is devoid of the label. The final decision on the MSC certification of alaska salmon, is still being quietly decided among different fishery groups. At one point, the PSVOA claimed that it would uphold MSC practices, but public comments are quickly disappearing on this touchy subject. The lack of MSC certification could keep alaskan salmon out of some of the largest respectable food chains in the states. Whole Foods maintains a strict policy of only selling sustainable seafood. With MSC quickly becoming an industry standard, one must wonder if this is a wise marketing decision for alaskan salmon. Other “sustainable” certification processes do exist. The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers a color coded system that highlights the viability and ecological footprint of a given fishery. Also, the United Nation’s FAO based Responsible Fisheries Management appears to be the new standard for alaska salmon. The question remains: In an eco conscious consumer driven market, is it wise to have one of Alaska’s premiere fisheries floating in sustainability limbo?
Industry demand for the “sustainable seafood” label, issued by the Marine Stewardship Council, is increasing. But some environmentalists fear fisheries are being certified despite evidence showing that the fish population is in trouble — or when there’s not enough information to know the impact on the oceans.
- Conditions Allow For More Sustainable-Labeled Seafood (wnyc.org)
- Marine Stewardship Council Responds To NPR Series On Sustainable Seafood (npr.org)
- Is your “certified” seafood really sustainable? (theconscientiousomnivore.wordpress.com)
- Canadian chum salmon fisheries awarded MSC (worldfishing.net)
- The Problem With Sustainable Seafood (huffingtonpost.com)
- McDonald’s Fish to be Labeled as “Certified Sustainable Seafood” (foodidentityblog.com)