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Louisiana blue crab fishery achieves sustainability certification

Louisiana blue crab fishery achieves certification first


Madelyn Kearns

December 16, 2016


The Louisiana blue *crab fishery has become the first to successfully complete the auditing process for Audubon Nature Institute’s Gulf United for Fisheries’ (G.U.L.F.) Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification, which gauges and encourages responsible practices for the sustainable harvest of Gulf of Mexico seafood.

Carried out by the independent assessment body Global Trust, which specializes in fisheries auditing, the certification is based on internationally accepted principles laid out by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in its Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and Ecolabeling Guidelines for Fish and Fishery Products. The RFM certification by G.U.L.F. was created in sync with those guidelines, as well as with principles set forth by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

“This is the culmination of a comprehensive process to create a certification unique to the fisheries and management systems of the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico,” said Laura Picariello, technical programs manager for G.U.L.F., in a news release.“Throughout the process, G.U.L.F. consulted with a Technical Advisory Committee comprised of researchers, resource managers, industry members, and other stakeholders from the Gulf of Mexico region. G.U.L.F. continues to work closely with fishermen and resource managers to facilitate communication and outreach to ensure the process is transparent and thorough.”

“It’s exciting to see the Louisiana blue crab achieve G.U.L.F. RFM certification,” added Susan Marks, Sustainability Director, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. “Participation by the Gulf States, alongside Iceland and Alaska, provides customers another credible and cost-effective choice in demonstrating responsible sourcing and third party certification.”

With the recent emphasis on sustainability assurances from major retailers and wholesalers such as Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Kroger, Winn-Dixie and Publix, the RFM certification for Louisiana blue crab gives the fishery a leg up.

“This certification demonstrates that Louisiana blue crab is responsibly harvested for sustainable use, thereby safeguarding both the seafood itself and the industry that relies on it,” according to the Audubon Nature Institute. This significant milestone for Audubon’s sustainable seafood program expands our already considerable presence in the landscape of conservation,” explained Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman. “We cannot underestimate the importance of a healthy Gulf of Mexico to our state’s economy. A vibrant, well-managed marine ecosystem will provide for healthy fisheries that will enable us to continue to be near the top in national seafood production.’’

More than a quarter of all blue crab harvested in the United States comes from Louisiana waters, classifying the fishery as the largest for blue crab in the country. With its newest RFM certification, the fishery also offers consumers the knowledge the crab they’re buying and eating is sustainably sourced.

“What this ultimately means is that consumers can feel good about purchasing Louisiana blue crabs,” Picariello said. “Just check the label to make sure the blue crabs you are purchasing came from Louisiana waters, or ask your grocer or server where the product comes from.”

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