REEDVILLE, Va. – December 4, 2018 – A draft report released today by independent auditor SAI Global recommends that the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certify the Atlantic menhaden fishery as sustainable. MSC is the world’s most recognized seafood certification organization, and its certification indicates that current harvest levels are sustainable.
“Omega Protein and the Atlantic menhaden fishery have operated according to the highest standards of sustainability for a long time,” said Monty Diehl, the Company’s Vice President of Operations. “Today’s report is an encouraging sign that our hard work is paying off. We look forward to working with MSC going forward to ensure that we continue to meet their high standards.”
The report was produced by a team of independent scientists and assessors employed by SAI Global to carry out the Atlantic menhaden assessment against the MSC fishery standards. Stakeholders and members of the public now have 30 days to comment on the report, which has completed peer review by independent third-party experts.
Fisheries that pursue a MSC Sustainability Certification undergo a rigorous process. They are evaluated against 28 performance indicators in three categories: sustainability of the stock, efforts to minimize environmental impacts, and effective management. To be certified, the fishery must score a minimum of 60 out of 100 in all 28 indicators, and an average of 80 in each overall category.
The assessment includes an analysis of all relevant information about the fishery, site visits and interviews with managers and stakeholders, peer review by independent third party experts, and a public review. Certifiers are required to carefully consider all comments received before issuing a final report. Finally, stakeholders are given 15 working days to raise any objections to the final report.
The MSC assessment of the Atlantic menhaden fishery came at the request of Omega Protein in June 2017. The Company also requested an assessment of the Gulf menhaden fishery, which is expected to be completed in the coming months.
The Atlantic menhaden fishery has previously been found to be healthy and sustainable. According to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the interstate body that manages Atlantic menhaden, the resource is not overfished nor experiencing overfishing. Due to the strength of the stock, the ASMFC raised the coastwide quota for Atlantic menhaden in every year from 2015 to 2017.
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