PORT ARTHUR, Texas — The American Shrimp Processors Association announced that it has contracted with Global Trust Certification Ltd. to complete sustainability assessments of the entire Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery for both the Marine Stewardship Council and the Certified Seafood Collaborative Responsible Fisheries Management certifications.
MSC is the leading sustainable fisheries certification and eco-labeling program for wild-caught seafood throughout the world. The MSC program reflects the most up to date understanding of internationally accepted fisheries science and management and provides assurance to fishery and supply chain partners that they are meeting global best practice and having a positive impact on the water.
CSC's program is an independent RFM certification based on internationally accepted principles set by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). CSC's RFM Certification was the first seafood sustainability certification program to successfully achieve the GSSI benchmark in 2016.
For the past 15 years, many industry stakeholders in the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery, including fishermen, docks and processors and governmental and non-governmental entities have worked collectively in Fishery Improvement Projects across the Gulf coast to place the Gulf of Mexico fishery in a position to achieve sustainability certifications.
"Many members of our industry – with the assistance of many talented governmental and non-governmental representatives, as well as various participants in the retail and foodservice sectors – have collectively worked hard to get to where we are today," said Kristen Baumer, chairman of the ASPA Sustainability Committee. "This day has been a long time coming and we are all excited to work with Global Trust this year to achieve both certifications."
ASPA would like to specifically thank Laura Picariello of Texas Sea Grant, John Fallon with Audubon Nature Institute's Gulf United For Lasting Fisheries, and Megan Westmeyer with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, as well as the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, for their many years of support in positioning the fishery to make this day possible.
Achieving certification will allow ASPA to assure its retail and foodservice clients and the consuming public that Wild-Caught Gulf Shrimp are sustainably sourced, ensuring the long-term biological, ecological and socioeconomic viability of the fishery. The assessments will cover brown, white and pink shrimp in federal waters and the state waters of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the west coast of Florida, caught with otter trawls, skimmers and butterfly nets. On behalf of the entire Gulf of Mexico fishery, ASPA is committed to achieving and maintaining certifications for many years to come.
"This isn't just about a label," said ASPA President Trey Pearson. "We know sustainability is important. It's important for our customers, for our members, and for the futures of generations of hardworking fishermen."
"The fishery moving into assessment is the culmination of hard work by many industry stakeholders," said Reese Antley, chairman of the Gulf Shrimp Supply Chain Roundtable. "It is a chance for the boats, docks and processors to show the commitment that we have for ensuring the sustainability of the Gulf shrimp industry."
ASPA, along with many other industry participants, stakeholders, organizations and governmental and non-governmental entities, will work closely this year with Global Trust, MSC and CSC to achieve dual certifications. ASPA would like to again thank all participants for their past, present and future efforts. The association looks forward to bringing Third-Party Certified Sustainable Wild American Shrimp to the market.