The Alaskan salmon fishery originally received the certification of sustainability from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in 2000, and was recertified in October 2007 with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) as the client. The original certifier was Scientific Certification Systems; they also were contracted to conduct the 5-year recertification in 2007. After the recertification was completed, ADF&G changed certifiers and contracted with Moody Marine International (MMI) to conduct the required annual audit which was completed in October 2008. The commissioner of ADF&G expressed the desire to transfer the role of client from the state agency to an industry-based entity in mid 2008, and ceased fulfilling the role of client in October 2008.
Industry and MSC have been working to transfer the role of client to an industry-based coalition since that time; and during the last half of 2009, it was thought that Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) might assume that role. In December, ASMI’s board of directors voted to delay a decision to assume the client role until March 2010. This being the second delay of final action by ASMI, members of the industry became concerned that certification for Alaskan salmon might lapse. Subsequently an industry coalition approached Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF), a non-profit foundation that has worked in support of the commercial fishing industry in Alaska for over 30 years, and asked that AFDF investigate the potential for becoming the salmon client. Our board of directors voted to accept the role of client for MSC certification of salmon, if there was sufficient support by salmon companies pledging funding for the transition and continuation of the certification process. AFDF accepted the role of client effective February 19, 2010.
AFDF wants to make it clear that it is our intent to support the interests of all Alaska salmon industry participants, to uphold the management principles of the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, and to complement any initiatives undertaken by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to demonstrate and promote the sound management and sustainability of all Alaska fisheries.