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Juneau, Alaska. October 7, 2010 – The Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF) and Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) today released a joint statement clarifying their commitment to certifying sustainable Alaska fisheries.

In the summer of 2009, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) ended its role as the client for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of Alaska’s salmon fisheries. In March 2010, after considering taking up that role, ASMI chose Global Trust Certification Ltd. (GT) to perform an independent third-party certification of all major Alaska fisheries.  That same year, AFDF assumed the client role for the MSC certification of Alaska’s salmon harvest.

Alaska has successfully managed its fisheries for sustainability since statehood. All Alaska seafood is harvested from sustainably managed fisheries in accordance with the Alaska State Constitution, Federal, State and International laws.  Alaska is a global leader in sustainable fisheries management, and has a fifty-year track record to prove it.

Unfortunately some other parts of the world have not done such a good job.  As a result, a sustainability movement has emerged in the marketplace over the last decade to demonstrate to consumers that the products they are purchasing come from sustainably managed and legal fisheries.

Today, both AFDF and ASMI are working cooperatively to provide the Alaska seafood industry, and its customers, a choice of market tools they have requested to meet this demand for assurance about the sustainability of our fisheries.

The vehicle for carrying the sustainability message varies from market to market. In some markets, an eco-logo is required. For those markets, the Alaska seafood industry, through AFDF and others, has turned to the MSC, a widely recognized eco-logo, to provide that service.

In other markets, the preferred vehicle is a background independent third-party certification of sustainability that can be incorporated into Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs.  ASMI is working to provide this certification, which certifies all Alaska fisheries directly to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, through its initiative with Global Trust.  This certification also preserves the origin identification of Alaska.

Others are quite satisfied to use the Alaska sustainability platform developed by ASMI over the past four years that substantiates Alaska’s sustainable fisheries and do not need third party assurance.  All of these options point back to the FAO Code, the world’s most widely recognized sustainability principles.

All of these vehicles are marketing tools intended to get the message out that Alaska’s fisheries are sustainably managed.  None materially impact the way the Alaska fisheries themselves are managed as Alaska sets a standard of sustainable management that few in the world can match.

By working together, AFDF and ASMI will continue to provide these options to our industry and customers.  It is up to them individually to determine which is most appropriate for their markets.

James Browning Ray Riutta
Executive Director Executive Director
Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
907.276.7315 907-465-5560