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Alaska halibut fishery certified as a responsible fishery according to FAO parameters. (Photo: Icicle Seafoods/FIS)

Alaska halibut fishery gets FAO-based certification

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Thursday, May 12, 2011, 22:20 (GMT + 9)

Alaska halibut is the second of Alaska’s major commercial fisheries to be awarded the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Based Responsible Fishery Management Certification. This independent, third party certification is based on the 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 fishery management structure in addition to scientific survey and stock assessment practices,” said Randy Rice, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (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.

(Graph: Alaska Seafood)

Alaska salmon are managed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), a state agency; harvested exclusively in Alaska waters (0-3 mi 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 US and Canada, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC), the National Marine Fishery Service (NMFS) and ADFG.  Alaska halibut is harvested exclusively by longline gear, throughout one continuous season, in Alaska waters as well as in Alaska’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), 3-200 mi 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.

The Full Assessment and Certification Report will be available online on 23 May.

Related article:

- Halibut catch limits should be cut by 19 pc for 2011: IPHC 

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Photo Courtesy of FIS Member  Icicle Seafoods Inc. -Headquarter-
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