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First MSC-Certified Facility in Russia

Salmonids Sustainability Post-harvest +3 more

RUSSIA - The Iturup Island pink and chum salmon fisheries today have become the first in Russia to achieve Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

These fisheries are managed by the Russian government and by J.S.C. Gidrostroy, a private company that owns and operates the fishing, processing and shipment operations for much of the salmon at Iturup Island, which is the largest of the Kuril Islands off the Pacific Coast of Russia. J.S.C. Gidrostroy is the fishery client for this certification and has been active on Iturup Island since 1991.

Alexander Verkhovsky, president of J.S.C. Gidrostroy, said: “We are very proud to become the first Russian Fishery to receive the MSC certificate. Attaining such international recognition for our fisheries and management practices validates our long-term commitment to sustainable resource management. MSC certification, together with traceability procedures already in place, assure our customers that our products meet or exceed requirements for legally caught and processed wild, sustainable fish. In addition, it underscores our longstanding dedication to ensure that this resource will be here for future generations.”

Rupert Howes, chief executive of the MSC, said: “I greatly welcome the certification of the first Russian fishery. This is an important development that will expand the global supply of certified sustainable seafood and increase the choices of buyers and consumers around the world.”

During the fishing season from the beginning of July to the end of November each year, salmon are caught with stationary traps from offshore coastal areas in Prostor and Kurilskiy Bays, adjacent to four Iturup Island river systems. Hatcheries exist in two of the river systems. All of the fisheries’ salmon caught in the 2009 season is eligible to carry the MSC ecolabel. After harvesting, both pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) and chum (Oncorhynchus keta) salmon are processed at the island’s two J.S.C. Gidrostroy-owned plants in headed and gutted form as well as other products before being sold into Russian, European, Asian and North American markets

MSC operates the world’s leading certification and ecolabel program for sustainability in wild-capture fisheries. In accordance with the MSC standard, the assessment of the Iturup Island salmon fisheries included detailed analyses of the salmon stocks, the impacts of the fishery on the marine environment and the effectiveness of the fisheries’ management system. The assessment, conducted by independent certifier, Scientific Certification Systems, took approximately 16 months to complete.