The following statement was issued today by World Wildlife Fund (WWF)'s Marine Conservation program director Scott Burns, following issuance of Scientific Certification System's final report and recommendations that the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands pollock fishery be certified, after a scientific team found it in compliance with the Marine Stewardship Council's standards for a sustainable and well-managed fishery.
"Today's recommendation opens the door to public recognition of what's right about a fishery and to public support for changes to lessen its impact on the marine environment.
"The certifier's recommendations chart a course toward addressing many of the remaining concerns about this fishery's effects on the ecosystem, including those raised in peer-reviewed comments by WWF. We are confident that the recommendations will be followed. WWF applauds the pollock fishery's decision to participate in the certification process and especially its willingness to make the improvements recommended by the certifier. Inclusion of those conditions demonstrates the MSC's value as a force in improving the sustainability of world fisheries.
"While we are deeply concerned about a fishery's impact on marine mammals and other species, we are convinced that these animals will benefit more by encouragement of good fishing practices than by continuing conflicts. The Alaska pollock fishery is well-managed in many respects and will only be made better as certification moves forward.
"If the certification moves forward, millions of consumers - from moms to fast food fans - will see that they can play a role in rewarding what is right in our fisheries and encouraging changes where they are needed. That's the marketplace driving good conservation. It's a win for the consumer, a win for fishing communities and a win for the marine environment."
Notes to editors
- Alaska's pollock fishery is among the world's most important suppliers of whitefish. Products from the fishery are sold by retailers and restaurants worldwide.
- Scientific Certification Systems is an independent certification firm accredited by the MSC. Its report is subject to appeal by interested stakeholders under the MSC's Objections Procedure. For more information on the procedure, and for the full report, go to www.msc.org.
- The MSC was created in 1997 out of a partnership between WWF and Unilever. Fisheries that meet its standard for effective management and environmental performance may use the MSC logo to distinguish their products in the marketplace. More than 200 MSC labeled products are available to consumers in seventeen nations.
- WWF's Bering Sea ecoregion program is leading an initiative to better protect a part of the ecosystem where this fishery operates - the waters surrounding the Pribiloff islands. The applicants for certification in this case are active participants in that process.