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WILD ALASKA HALIBUT JOINS ALASKA SALMON IN RESPONSIBLE FISHERIES MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATION

Juneau, Alaska. May 9, 2011 – Alaska halibut is the second of Alaska’s major commercial fisheries to be awarded the FAO Based Responsible Fisheries Management Certification. This independent, third party certification is based on the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the FAO Guidelines for Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries. Alaska salmon was awarded the certification in March of this year.

“This certification is significant in many ways, not only because it is additional testament to Alaska’s responsible management, but because these two fisheries, very different in nature, show the versatility of the FAO-Based Certification model. This model focuses closely on the fisheries management structure in addition to scientific survey and stock assessment practices,” said Randy Rice, ASMI Seafood Technical Director in charge of overseeing Alaska’s certification effort.  The process from application to certification has taken just under 12 months, which has been consistent with the timeline for Alaska salmon.

Alaska salmon are managed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), a state agency; harvested exclusively in Alaska waters (zero to three miles offshore); and by a variety of gear types during various seasons, or ‘openers’ throughout the year.  Alaska halibut, however, are collaboratively managed under the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), an international partnership between the United States and Canada, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (federal), NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Alaska Department of Fish Game.  Alaska halibut are harvested exclusively by longline gear, throughout one continuous season, in Alaska waters as well as in Alaska’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), 3-200 miles offshore. “What this shows us is that Alaska has successfully adapted to responsibly manage its various fisheries based on the needs of the ecosystems, the fishermen and the fish.  I am confident we will continue to see further evidence of this as more Alaska fisheries are evaluated, and hopefully, certified,” said Rice.

ASMI has submitted applications for Alaska’s other major commercial fisheries (Black cod, King and Snow crab, and Alaska Pollock), which are in process.

To download a copy of the Alaska Halibut Responsible Fisheries Management Certification Summary please visit: http://sustainability.alaskaseafood.org/halibut-certification. The Full Assessment and Certification Report will be available on May 23rd, 2011 at http://sustainability.alaskaseafood.org/halibut-certification.

For More Information

Throughout the certification process, ASMI is posting information on the progress of each fishery at http://sustainability.alaskaseafood.org/certification. You can also sign up to receive periodic email updates from ASMI at http://sustainability.alaskaseafood.org/e-blasts-sign-up.

About Alaska Seafood

For more than 50 years, Alaska has been dedicated to sustainable seafood. It’s so essential to our way of life that our constitution has a mandate that “fish … be utilized, developed and maintained on the sustained yield principle.”

The seafood industry is Alaska’s largest private sector employer. As a result, Alaskans understand the need to protect the fisheries and surrounding habitats for future generations. We’re proud of our leadership in sustainable management, which has led to an ever-replenishing supply of wild seafood for markets around the world. www.alaskaseafood.org