US Pacific whiting fishery first outside Alaska to enter RFM assessment
The midwater trawl fishery for Pacific whiting (hake), covering US federal waters off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California, is being assessed against the responsible management standard. of fisheries (RFM).
If it met the standard, the fishery would become the first fishery outside of Alaska to be RFM certified. The RFM certification program – founded by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and now managed by the Certified Seafood Collaborative – focuses on wild fisheries to ensure responsible sourcing practices and proof of origin.
The Pacific Whiting Conservation Cooperative (PWCC) represents the Pacific Whiting Fishery. The PWCC is made up of four companies in the capture-processor sector of the Pacific whiting fishery, and its objective is to promote rational harvest, optimal use and minimal wastage in the whiting fishery.
“At PWCC, we believe the industry has an interest in having alternatives to the sustainable seafood certification program. We anticipate that the addition of the Pacific whiting fishery to the list of RFM certified fisheries will facilitate significant growth of the RFM program by expanding its geographic reach, increasing the volume of RFM certified fish available to businesses and consumers, and by expanding RFM’s market reach, ”PWCC President Mike Luchino said in a press release.
As a cooperative, PWCC has worked with member companies to improve product recovery rates and reduce bycatch of salmonids and rockfish, according to PWCC Executive Director Daniel Waldeck.
“The sustainability of the Pacific whiting fishery is of paramount importance to PWCC,” said Waldeck. “We recognize that sustainable seafood certification programs provide essential information to businesses and consumers when making their seafood purchasing choices. We have witnessed the growth of RFM certified fisheries in Alaska and we see the many benefits they have gained from their RFM certifications.
The independent assessment of the PWCC will be conducted by MRAG Americas, Inc., which was recently approved as an RFM Fishing Standards (OC) certification body.
“We couldn’t be more delighted that PWCC sees the value that RFM offers: credibility, plus an eco-label that indicates origin with no logo license fees, which helps lower supply chain costs. . It is an exciting time to see our industry’s growing demand for choice for sustainable seafood certifications, ”said CSC Board Chair Mark Fina.
Photo courtesy of NOAA