The American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA), formed in 1964, 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 (MSC) and the Certified Seafood Collaborative (CSC) Responsible Fisheries Management certifications.
MSC is the leading sustainable fisheries certification and ecolabeling 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 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 ave 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."
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.
ASPA is committed to achieving and maintaining certifications for many years to come. "This isn't just about a label," said Trey Pearson, ASPA president. "We know sustainability is important. It's important for our customers, for our members, and for the futures of generations of hardworking fishermen."