Update on the Seafood Summit and Marine Stewardship Council Certifications

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The Seafood Choices Alliance held their 9th annual Seafood Summit in Vancouver Jan 31 – Feb 2, 2011. The organizers describe the conference as bringing “together global representatives from the seafood industry and conservation community for in-depth discussions, presentations and networking with the goal of making the seafood marketplace environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.”

Watershed Watch Executive Director, Craig Orr, and Ecologist, Aaron Hill, both attended the Summit, and Aaron participated in a well-attended panel discussion on wild salmon. In his presentation Aaron made the case for transitioning fisheries away from mixed-stock marine areas to in-river selective fisheries, as a way of allowing fishermen to target strong salmon stocks (like last year’s amazing run of Adam’s River sockeye), while reducing impacts on small and endangered populations (like Cultus Lake sockeye) that have traditionally been overfished. We will be posting a video of Aaron’s talk to our new website in a few weeks.

As always, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) was a hot topic at the Seafood Summit. The MSC is world’s most widely recognized and sought-after ecolabel for seafood products. Last year, the MSC granted ecocertification to BC’s sockeye salmon fisheries, despite an official objection by Watershed Watch, David Suzuki Foundation, and SkeenaWild Conservation Trust. The MSC is now poised to certify BC’s pink salmon fisheries as sustainably managed. In January, Watershed Watch and three other organizations submitted a detailed critique of the Draft Public Report for pink salmon certification that was prepared by the so-called third party certifier, Moody Marine International. With a large return of pink salmon predicted for the Fraser River this year, the stakes are high.


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