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Alaska's Commercial Salmon Fisheries to be Assessed for Recertification


February 12, 2005

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) announced Friday that Scientific Certifications Systems (SCS) of Emeryville, California has been awarded the contract to conduct the recertification of the Alaska commercial salmon fishery.  The fishery was originally certified as sustainably managed by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in 2000, as the first fishery in North America to be certified.  Under MSC rules, all certified fisheries must be fully re-assessed by an independent certification body every five years.

"I look forward to the successful recertification of Alaska's commercial salmon fisheries by the Marine Stewardship Council," said ADF&G's Director of Commercial Fisheries, Doug Mecum."  Alaska's salmon populations are healthy and vibrant and even better managed today than they were when the fisheries were originally certified."

Over the past five years, managers and researchers of ADF&G, Division of Commercial Fisheries, working in close cooperation with the Alaska Board of Fisheries, have worked very hard to evaluate existing salmon escapement goals, and carefully examine the health of salmon populations.  Where necessary, they have also developed comprehensive management plans to help improve escapements of those salmon populations identified as stocks of concern under the Board of Fisheries Sustainable Salmon Fisheries Policy.

"With over $70 million in retail sales of MSC-labeled Alaska salmon in ten countries, it is safe to say that the marketing partnership of MSC and Alaska salmon has been a huge success," notes Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council.  To date, there are 86 processors and distributors marketing 154 salmon product lines carrying the MSC logo.  "Thanks to the MSC, Alaska salmon is now front and center in the sustainable seafood market and re-certification will help keep Alaska salmon so strategically placed," adds Ray Riutta, Executive Director of Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

The recertification assessment team's rigorous examination will consist of work both in and outside of Alaska.  In the next few weeks, SCS will draft a set of performance indicators and scoring guideposts to assess the fishery.  These will reflect MSC principles and criteria for sustainable fisheries and will be consistent with those currently being used to assess other salmon fisheries.  The process includes extensive interviews with fishermen, fishery managers, fishery scientists, and other stakeholders from within ADF&G's four regions and 12 management areas, as well as outside of Alaska.  Based on the information gathered, SCS will score the fishery and specify any conditions to recertification that may apply.

A draft certification report will be posted to MSC's website ( in August, 2005.  Stakeholders will have the opportunity to comment, and SCS will respond to all comments.  The final report and decision on recertification will be completed in October, 2005.


Source of News:

Alaska Department of Fish & Game
Web Site


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