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Washington Pink Shrimp gets Sustainable Certification

Crustaceans Sustainability Economics +5 more

US - Washington pink shrimp is the first fishery managed by the state of Washington to achieve certification to the global Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Fisheries Standard for sustainable, wild-caught seafood.

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The Washington pink shrimp fishery was independently assessed as a scope extension of the MSC certified Oregon pink shrimp fishery, which achieved certification to the MSC standard in December 2007 and attained recertification in February 2013.

“Washington state’s pink shrimp fishermen are proud that this is the first Washington state-managed fishery to earn certification to the MSC standard,” said Charles Kirschbaum, ‎Pacific Seafood Group’s product manager.

"Efforts by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, working closely with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, to develop and adopt reference points, and implement bycatch reduction measures are key to making the fishery one of the most sustainable shrimp fisheries in the world."

Lorna Wargo, Senior Fisheries Biologist, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said: “Washington pink shrimp fishermen have a record of being willing to adopt sustainable fishing practices, often ahead of regulatory action, so I’m very pleased to see recognition of the fishery through MSC certification. We look forward to continued work with shrimpers and processors, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, as such collaboration is an effective strategy for ensuring a healthy shrimp stock and vital fishery.”

Pink shrimp, also known as ocean shrimp, are generally considered to have a clean, sweet flavor and are commonly served on salad, in a shrimp roll or as whole cooked peel and eat shrimp. Since the late 1990’s, fishing for pink shrimp in Washington has steadily improved with recent landings increasing from approximately 10 million pounds per year to a record 30 million pounds, with a value of more than $16 million, in 2014.

Fishing for Washington pink shrimp is allowed only in the U.S. federal Exclusive Economic Zone (which extends 200 nautical miles from the coast) and prohibited in State waters (0-3 mi). Permitted fishers are allowed to land as much as they can as long as they follow season (April 1 through October 31), area, size, and gear regulations (single and double-rigged shrimp trawl gear is permitted).

Brian Perkins, MSC Regional Director, Americas, said: “The expansion of the MSC certified pink shrimp fishery to include Washington pink shrimp is a significant advancement. In 2007, Oregon pink shrimp became the first pink shrimp fishery in the world to achieve MSC certification, and the addition of Washington demonstrates that this fishery continues to be committed to sustainably harvesting pink shrimp.”

This certification assessed the west coast pink (ocean) shrimp stock which extends from south east Alaska to California waters. The assessment considered the health of the coast wide stock and the effects of all permitted harvests on that stock.