Governor Kitzhaber today praised an Oregon fishery for earning certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an international organization dedicated to encouraging sustainable fishing practices. The MSC certification states that the ocean trawl fishery off the coasts of Oregon, Washington, and California meets criteria for being sustainable and well-managed.
"The certification of the trawl fishery as sustainable under the Marine Stewardship Council standard is a real accomplishment," said Governor Kitzhaber. "Even more impressive are the innovations pioneered by the fishing industry to promote responsible stewardship. From new types of gear to selective fishing strategies, Oregon's fishing industry, along with partners up and down the West Coast, is doing its part."
Brad Pettinger, director of the Oregon Trawl Commission, echoed the Governor's praise. "The certification of this fishery is testimony to the social contract that we have with the public, providing assurance that we are fishing sustainably and in a manner that is consistent with the public's high expectation," said Pettinger.
The most recent certification covers 13 species, including the first certified rockfish fisheries. Other species listed in the certification include arrow tooth flounder; Dover, English and petrale sole; lingcod; and sablefish. This is the most diverse fishery to ever receive MSC certification and represents about 95 percent of the poundage caught in the Oregon bottom trawl fishery statewide. In addition to the trawl fishery, Oregon also has several other MSC certified fisheries, including albacore tuna, Dungeness crab, pink shrimp, and whiting. The recent inclusion of the trawl fisheries makes Oregon among the top commercial producers (by volume) of MSC certified fish.
"The limited entry ground fish trawl fishery in Oregon is a highly valued wild fishery on the West Coast," said Roy Elicker, Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "The success and sustainability of the fishery is due to comprehensive and careful management practices being implemented by all stakeholders in the fishery."
To achieve MSC certification, fisheries are assessed based on a rigorous set of standards that include the health of the fish stock, marine ecosystem protection, and the effectiveness of fishery management. An independent scientific assessment against the MSC standard was conducted by Intertek Fisheries Certification Ltd. During the assessment, the team noted an ongoing and systematic approach to reducing by-catch.
The certification means that fish sold in stores may carry an MSC label touting the product's sustainability standards.