An objection has been submitted over the Final Determination Report by Intertek Moody Marine (IMM) that concluded 13 of 14 units of certification in the independent, third party assessment of the Alaska salmon fishery meet the Marine Stewardship Council standard for a sustainable and well-managed fishery. The final report notes the Prince William Sound unit of certification remains in assessment.
The objection was filed by Wild Fish Conservancy, based in Washington state and Watershed Watch Salmon Society, Skeena Wild Conservation Trust, and Raincoast Conservation Foundation, all based in British Columbia, Canada. The next step in the MSC objections process is for an Independent Adjudicator to be appointed who will then review the documents submitted and determine whether to proceed to a formal objections hearing. Typically, an IA would make this initial determination within ten days but there is not a requirement on the timing and it could be sooner than that, or later.
The MSC process includes an objections procedure as a final optional step in an assessment to provide an orderly, structured, transparent and independent process for review of the certifier’s recommendation if a stakeholder challenges the outcome. An Independent Adjudicator looks specifically at whether any errors were made by the certifier that would materially affect the scoring outcome in reaching a decision about certification. The objections procedure does not re-assess a fishery. The findings are determined by the Independent Adjudicator on the basis of materials submitted and in some cases, an oral hearing.
In conducting an objection procedure, the IA can bring the parties together to attempt to resolve differences short of a formal adjudication hearing. The next step is for the Independent Adjudicator to review the documents submitted and determine whether there is sufficient basis upon which to proceed into the formal objection process.
The Alaska salmon fishery operates within U.S. territorial waters adjacent to the coast of the State of Alaska and in rivers that terminate in Alaska, and includes five Pacific salmon species: (chinook – Oncorhynchus tshawytscha; sockeye – Oncorhynchus nerka; pink – Oncorhynchus gorbuscha; chum – Oncorhynchus keta; and, coho – Oncorhynchus kisutch). A total of five separate gear types, purse seine, drift gillnet, set gillnet, trolling and fishwheels, are used in one or more of the 14 units of certification. Alaska salmon is sold fresh or frozen primarily in Asia, Europe and United States markets.