National Fisherman


The Marine Stewardship Council has released the latest results of its DNA testing program that the organization says validates the organization's Chain of Custody certification process.

According the MSC, in the most extensive testing of its labelled products carried out to date – of the 381 samples taken from retail packed products, fresh fish counters, and catering restaurants in 14 different markets - the MSC found that the overall mislabelling rate for MSC certified products was 1 percent, or just three mislabelled samples.

"The MSC has used DNA testing since 2009 as one part of its strategy to monitor the effectiveness of its Chain of Custody standard for seafood traceability in controlling the processing, packing, labelling and movement of MSC certified seafood around the world," said David Agnew, MSC director of standards. "Today's results show that our program provides a high level of integrity and assurance that MSC labelled products are traceable to certified fisheries, and that customers are not being misled."

The MSC said two of the three mislabelled samples were from a single supplier, and found to be Atlantic cod, labelled as Pacific cod. This supply chain has now been investigated and the fish found to be from an MSC certified Atlantic cod fishery. So, although mislabelling has occurred, the substitution was of one certified species by another the MSC concluded. The third sample was Atlantic cod which, potentially, originated from a catch area not covered by an MSC certified fishery. This supply chain is still under investigation.

The DNA testing carried out in 2012 used a combination of tests to assess whether a product labelled as a certain species, for example, walleye pollock or hake, is in fact that species. While such species-level tests cannot distinguish between MSC and non-MSC certified samples of the same species, they can validate that MSC-labelled products are correctly identified by species. This kind of testing is particularly useful for species where it has been shown there is a high rate of substitution, such as many whitefish products.

Read the full story at Saving Seafood>>

Inside the Industry

NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.

The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.

Read more...

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

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