As reported in the Gloucester Daily Times, the Marine Stewardship Council has just awarded their coveted blue eco-label to a partnership between Atlantic Trawlers Fishing and Gloucester’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Now haddock, pollock and redfish (ocean perch) caught in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank, and landed at Fisherman’s Wharf, will carry MSC certification.
I have written before about my opinion on eco-labels, and how the MSC seems to get most of its operating budget from the selling of these badges. However, if it means that our local, sustainably-caught haddock, pollock and redfish can get to the wider market then I’m all for it. Regardless of my opinion on these things, if you want to play with the big boys – the Walmart’s and Whole Foods of the world – then you need to go through this process and get certified.
I have to admit, when I’m shopping for seafood and I’m not familiar with a particular species, an eco-label at least gives me the sense that there is someone keeping an eye on this fishery. And when it comes to most consumers of seafood, so far removed from the source and those that harvest it, you almost have to put faith in these little badges. I always suggest learning about where your fish is coming from, to ask questions at the seafood counter and do your research. But sometimes the person selling you the fish knows less than you do, or there is no counter at all, just an aisle full of frozen fish fillets.
“We invested in this because we believe in the future of the fishery and we believe in the management of the fishery,” says Vito Giacolone Jr. “It’s important to us to erase the black mark of overfishing. It’s not justified. The fishery and management was rigorously investigated to receive the MSC certification.”
Gloucester Daily Times: 5/8/18
What does this mean for the consumer? Well if last year is any indication, during which the company landed 13 million pounds of fish, it means a lot more certified sustainable fish for the domestic market. That’s good news no matter how you slice it.
What does it mean for Gloucester and what is left of our fleet? It means that our fishermen can get their catch to a much larger market. It means that years of bad press and the subsequent misinformation on overfishing are giving way to the reality that our fleet brings in fresh, healthy and sustainable seafood. It also means that Gloucester, one of the most famous fishing ports in history is getting its seat back at the table as a recognized as a leader in wild-caught seafood.
This is great news for Atlantic Trawlers Fishing, for Fisherman’s Wharf, for the Giacalone family and for the great port of Gloucester. If you would like to know more about who is bringing this great fish to your local market, take a look their webpage. And if you start seeing Gloucester fish where you purchase your seafood, let me know in the comments!