Monday, March 29, 2010

North Pacific Albacore Fisheries Earn MSC Certification

Two North Pacific albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) fisheries operating in U.S., Canadian and international waters have been awarded certification under the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) program for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.  Products from the fisheries will now be eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel recognizing seafood from well-managed and sustainable sources.

The Canadian Highly Migratory Species Foundation (CHMSF) troll/jig fishery and the U.S.-based Western Fishboat Owners Association (WFOA) troll/jig and pole/line fisheries were the clients for the assessments which took place simultaneously.  Their tuna fishing vessels operate from the coastal waters of California north to British Columbia and across the North Pacific nearly to the coast of Japan.

The North Pacific albacore tuna fishing season runs from May through October.  The combined catch for these fisheries is between 15,000 and 20,000 metric tons.  Preliminary 2009 reports show the British Columbia fleet harvest at about 5,450 metric tons and U.S. troll and pole landings at 11,580 metric tons.   Approximately 60 percent of the tuna from these fisheries goes to Asia and Europe with 10 percent to U.S. canning companies.  The remaining 30 percent is sold into U.S. and Canadian markets for domestic consumption.  Albacore tuna is marketed as fresh, fresh-frozen and canned product with canned product accounting for the majority of the catch.

“Since the beginning of this fishery, members of the Canadian North Pacific albacore tuna industry have strived to carry out and support sustainable fishing practices,” said Lorne Clayton, executive director of the CHMSF.  “Following the development of the CHMSF Quality Assurance Program in 2003, our industry’s considerable efforts toward sustainable fishing have been recognized by such environmental Organizations as Ocean Wise, Sea Choice, and Seafood Watch and we are now proud to have achieved the independent verification, through the MSC, that our CHMSF Pacific Albacore fishery meets the MSC’s rigorous sustainability definition.”

“Having achieved this certification against the MSC’s rigorous standards will assure consumers that they are buying a sustainable seafood product,” said Wayne Heikkila, executive director of WFOA. “Members of the Western Fishboat Owners Association have long known that this was a sustainably managed fishery but having it successfully reviewed by a third party against the certification standard now provides us a great opportunity to promote our albacore tuna to local consumers as MSC certified.”

“Market demand for MSC-certified tuna is high,” said Kerry Coughlin, the Americas regional director for MSC.  “Successful completion of the assessment process by these two fisheries will be welcome news to buyers committed to sourcing from fisheries that meet the MSC standard.   We congratulate CHMSF and WFOA on their certification and commitment to sustainability.”

The independent, third-party full assessments were conducted by Global Trust Certification.  The fisheries were assessed against the three principles of the MSC standard: the status of the fish stock, the impact of the fishery on the marine ecosystem and the management system overseeing the fishery. As with all MSC-certified fisheries, these fisheries will undergo annual surveillance audits. More information about the North Pacific albacore tuna fisheries can be found on the MSC’s website in the Track a Fishery section at

source: MSC press release

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Public Sessions to Guide Drafting of New Aquaculture Policy

NOAA will hold six listening sessions in April and May to hear recommendations from the public that will help the agency develop a new national policy for sustainable marine aquaculture.

Dates for the listening sessions with NOAA officials are as follows:

April 14 in Narragansett, R.I.

April 19 in New Orleans, La.

April 22 in Seattle

April 27 in Honolulu

April 29 in Menlo Park, Calif.

May 6 a national call-in hosted by NOAA on a toll-free line

Details on the specific locations and times for the regional listening sessions and instructions for submitting comments electronically will be posted on the NOAA Aquaculture Program Web site The agency also will accept public comment through the Web.

After the listening sessions, NOAA will analyze the public input and develop a draft national policy for review and public comment. Once that process is complete, the agency will issue the new NOAA aquaculture policy. NOAA’s goal is to issue a new national policy that will enable sustainable marine aquaculture within the context of the agency’s multiple ocean stewardship missions and broader social and economic goals.

source: NOAA press release

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

South African Hake Trawl Achieves Re-certification

Hake from the South African trawl fishery will continue to carry the Marine Stewardship Council eco-label after successfully completing its five year re-assessment against the MSC standard.

The trawl fishery comprises the inshore sector, which targets predominantly shallow water hake (Merluccius capensis) on South Africa’s South Coast, and the offshore sector, which targets mostly deep water hake (M. paradoxus), on fishing grounds extending from the Namibian border southwards along the Alguhas fringe.

The South African hake-directed trawl fishery developed in the early 1900’s and peaked in the early 1970’s. A conservative management strategy since the early 1980’s has led to a gradual recovery in catch rates. Stock rebuilding efforts are ongoing.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Export Ban on Bluefin Tuna Rejected

A working group of the 175th-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has rejected petitions by Monaco and the European Union to list bluefin tuna as an endangered species.

U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) commented, "From the outset I have opposed this misguided policy, and I applaud today's decision to reject proposals to list bluefin tuna under Appendix I of CITES. Approval of this listing would have had crippling effects on the U.S. bluefin tuna fishery, and institutionalized a perverse incentive by effectively punishing countries like the U.S. that attempt to impose responsible domestic fisheries management"

Scottish Atlanto Scandian Herring Fishery Gains MSC certification

The Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group’s (SPSG) Atlanto-Scandian herring fishery has been certified as a sustainable and well-managed fishery under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard.  Herring taken from this fishery are now eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel.

SPSG pelagic trawlers, fitted with the latest refrigerated seawater tank systems, catch Atlanto-Scandian herring over a large area of the northeast Atlantic.  The UK has a quota of 20,600 tonnes for 2010, which is around 1.4% of the Total Allowable Catch for the Atlanto-Scandian herring stock. Much of this is taken in February, the main fishing season, with the remainder caught in the autumn.

Carrying an MSC ecolabel is an important marketing tool and allows SPSG members to compete on a level playing field with other countries’ products, particularly Norway and Denmark. Key markets for Atlanto-Scandian herring are Russia, Ukraine and China.

source: MSC press release

Friend of the Sea Certifies Mont Saint Michel Bay Mussels

The Mont Saint Michel Bay ‘bouchot’ mussels, pride of French cuisine, can now claim also the sustainability of their culture method. The certification followed an independent audit of compliance to Friend of the Sea strict requirements.

The culture method dates back to the XIII Century when Patrick Walton, an Irish traveler said to have been shipwrecked on the Mont Saint Michel Bay, accidentally discovered mussels’ propensity to aggregate on ropes and fatten remarkably . The culture method was named by a combination of two words in the Irish of the time: Bout=fence, Chot=Wood.

The traditional French ‘bouchot’ method of mussel culture is carried out on wooden poles that are placed upright into the sea bed in the low inter-tidal region. Mussel spat can be mechanically loaded into a long“stocking” of natural fibre that can then be wound around the bouchot. As the stocking fibre rots, the mussels attach by byssus to the bouchot.

Trad’OcĂ©an mussels are sold with the Friend of the Sea ecolabel by the Swiss company Covedis and Swiss retail chain Manor. “This recognition is an additional confirmation of the natural origin and high quality of our mussels” comments Mr Le Bihan, director of Trad’Ocean “

For more info:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

U.S. Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Seeks MSC Ecolabel

The U.S. Atlantic sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) dredge fishery operating in the exclusive economic zone of the United States of America offshore from Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina is entering full assessment in the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) certification program for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. The fishery will be assessed against the MSC Standard and, if successful, its products will be eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel recognizing products from well-managed and sustainable sources.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

University of Florida 2010 Shrimp School

The University of Florida will hold its 15th Shrimp School, May 11th-13th, at the UF campus, in Gainesville, FL. The school is dedicated to advancing shrimp product quality and safety, and has become the leading academic based domestic and international training program for shrimp processors, buyers and regulators worldwide.

This technical program features current and basic topics through lectures and actual hands-on training. The 2010 program will feature: decomposition and filth by FDA, proper use and detection of moisture control additives, product development, sustainability, third party audits, regulatory updates and more.

For more information about Shrimp School 2010, please visit Questions can be addressed to Laura Garrido at or 352-392-1991 ext 308.

Monday, March 15, 2010

French Saithe Fishery Awarded MSC Certification

EURONOR, the French saithe fishery, based in Boulogne-sur-Mer, has just been awarded the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certificate for sustainable and well-managed fisheries following a 13-month assessment. This is the first French fishery to achieve MSC certification and saithe (Pollachius virens) from the EURONOR fleet is now eligible to display the MSC eco-label.

Five EURONOR fishing vessels target saithe in the North Sea, off Western Scotland, and in the Norwegian Sea. The fleet produces 16,000 metric tones of saithe annually. With fishing rights representing over 90% of the French quota for this species, it is the largest saithe fishing company in France and one of the largest in Europe. The fleet comprises three freezer vessels which process their catch into fillets at sea and two wet fish vessels which land fresh fish and sell them through auction.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Catfish Farmers of America Annual Convention Held in Charleston, S.C.

The 2010 Catfish Farmers of America Annual Convention was held February 28-March 2, 2010 at the Mills House Hotel in downtown Charleston. More than 100 catfish farmers from across the Southeast met to discuss the current state of the industry and create solutions for various challenges.

“A great highlight of the CFA Annual Awards luncheon is recognizing distinguished farmers who have made valuable contributions to the catfish industry,” said Roger Barlow, executive vice president of Catfish Farmers of America and president of The Catfish Institute (TCI). “Each year, a deserving producer is named as Catfish Farmer of the Year from the three state associations. This honor gives outstanding catfish farmers national recognition for their contributions to our industry.”

Will Pearce was named Alabama Catfish Farmer of the Year. Joey Lowery was named Arkansas Catfish Farmer of the Year and Ed Pentecost was named Mississippi Catfish Farmer of the Year.

The Catfish Farmers of America (CFA) Organization represents the farmers, processors, feed mills, researchers and suppliers of the U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish industry.

Monday, March 8, 2010

UK Celebrates Omega-3 Day

On March 3, 2010, the United Kingdon celebrated International Omega-3 Day.

According to UK seafood organization Seafish, seafood has been recognized as the best dietary source of Omega-3 oils.  Seafish notes that the reduction in the risk of heart attack death is the most widely accepted benefit from eating more seafood. Also noted was that the consensus of knowledgeable experts believe that eating more fish may reduce risk of death from a heart attack by around 25-30%.

At a conference on Seafood & Health in January 2009, experts from all over the world presented new research confirming that the complex of vitamins, minerals and long-chain fatty acids present in seafood can improve eyesight, skin, and concentration levels as well as improving cardiovascular health.

Seafish also noted that the European Food Safety Authority has increased the adult recommended intake of Omega-3 from 200mg a day to 250mg a day – more than the current UK recommendation of 200mg/day.

Seafish is a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB), sponsored by the four UK government fisheries departments and funded by a levy on seafood. For more information, visit

2010 - 150 Years of British Fish and Chips

2010 is the 150th anniversary of fish and chips in the U.K. The nation celebrates its tradition annually with its national Fish & Chip Shop of the Year competition. The Fish & Chip Shop of the Year competition has been going for 22 years.

Since the beginning of the competition, fish and chip shops have changed dramatically, with many now offering different varieties of fish such as pollack, coley, and hake.

Modern frying methods and state of the art frying ranges have helped make fish and chips one of the healthiest takeaway meals. According to Seafish of the UK, state of the art fish and chip shops offer meals containing less salt, a third less calories and over 40 per cent less fat than other takeaways.

Friday, March 5, 2010

What Are Sea Scallops?

Sea scallops are bivalve mollusks. Various members of the scallop family are found worldwide. Scallop shells are symmetrical, attractive and highly collected by sea shell enthusiasts.

Atlantic sea scallops are harvested in the Northwest Atlantic from Cape Hatteras to Newfoundland and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. They live on the ocean bottom, generally at depths from 30 to 100 meters (about 100 to 300 feet) and can live up to 20 years.

Sea scallops are popular seafood items. Prized by cooks and diners, they are considered by many to be the most appealing of the shellfish. The premium products among scallops are the largest specimens, which have a delicate flavor and tender texture. Scallops are best when fresh, but may also be frozen.

The edible portion is the adductor muscle of scallops. The muscle is larger and more developed than most shellfish because they are active swimmers. Atlantic sea scallops are the largest scallops sold in the U.S., averaging 10/40 count per pound.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Faroese Herring Fishery Awarded MSC Certification

The Faroese Atlanto-Scandian (Norwegian Spring Spawning) herring fishery - Faroese Pelagic Organization- has attained the MSC environmental standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

The independent assessment team confirmed that the target herring stock is abundant and able to sustain fishing effort; that there were low by-catch and discard rates in the fishery; and that the fishery was well-managed, with clear and defined objectives.  They also concluded that the environmental impact of the fishery on the marine habitat and ecosystem is minimal as there is no physical contact between the seabed and the purse seines and pelagic trawls operated by the FPO-vessels.

The fishery follows one of the largest herring stocks in the world as it migrates from its spawning grounds along the Norwegian continental shelf to its summer feeding grounds in the Faroese, Icelandic and international areas.

source: MSC press release

Global Trust Chosen for Certification of Alaska's Fisheries

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) Board of Directors has announced that Global Trust Certification Ltd. has been chosen to perform an independent, third-party certification of Alaska's fisheries management systems.

Under the agreed model, each major Alaska fishery will be assessed for conformance to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the FAO Guidelines for Ecolabelling Fishery Products.  The substantive requirements of the FAO Codes are the world's most widely recognized sustainability principles.

Alaska intends to certify the management structure of its major commercial fisheries; salmon, shellfish, groundfish and halibut and black cod. The first fishery certification is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

source: ASMI press release

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

2009 SeaShare Seafood Donations

In 2009, a year of reduced resources, SeaShare helped the seafood industry donate 7 million servings of nutritious seafood to Americans across the country. SeaShare distributed over 344,000 lbs. of canned salmon and over 352,000 lbs. of breaded Pollock portions. Miscellaneous frozen retail fish products, salmon patties and steaks represented 706,000 lbs.

For more information, visit

Monday, March 1, 2010

Malaysian Seafood Expo 2010

Malaysian Seafood Expo 2010 will be held for the first time in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 20 - 22 May 2010. The event will allow the seafood Industry to exhibit products, as well as to display the equipment & services related to the seafood Industry.

The venue of the show is Matrade Exhibition & Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is the largest seafood consumer in Southeast Asia and is the fastest growing seafood market in the region. The demand for seafood products and seafood processing equipment in the country is always on the rise.

The Expo expects to attract more than 250 companies showcasing Seafood products, latest technology, materials, components, equipments and services related to the seafood Industry. More than 10000 trade visitors from Malaysia, other Asian countries and across the world are expected to visit this exhibition.