Alaska Salmon

Sustainability Salmon

Pacific Salmon: AFDF is Client for Certification of SustainabilityMarine Stewarship
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 beginning in 2005. After the recertification was completed in 2007, ADF&G changed certifiers and contracted with Moody Marine International (MMI) to conduct the first 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 management agency to an industry-based entity in mid 2008, and ceased fulfilling the role of client in October 2008.

Industry representatives and MSC worked to transfer the role of client to an industry-based coalition since July 2008, with AFDF being involved in the discussions with industry and ADF&G since August of that year. By October 2009, it was thought that Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) might assume that role. In December, ASMI’s board of directors again 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.

To address the salmon certification, AFDF formed a salmon industry coalition to devise a cost-sharing mechanism that was equitable to all participants. The cost-sharing mechanism was based on production levels for participating companies. AFDF contacted companies having MSC chain of custody certification for salmon to invite participation, and the MSC certification would remain open to ALL participants willing to help support the costs of the program, which will cover ALL salmon legally caught in Alaska, regardless of region, gear type or species.

AFDF wanted to make it clear that the foundation’s intent was 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.

  • For AFDF’s MSC Salmon Program Press Release (January 17, 2012), click here.
  • For a list of primary processors participating in AFDF’s Salmon Coalition, click here.
  • For a scanned image of the MSC certificate of sustainability, click click here.
  • For AFDF’s MSC Certification Updates, click here.
  • For the latest updates status and current reports on the Alaskan salmon certification posted on MSC website, click here.
  • For Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Sustainability information and program, click here.

AFDF will maintain clientship for MSC certification of Alaska salmon through October 29, 2012.