U.S. Atlantic skate achieves MSC certification

Press Release

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)  

19. June 2019

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Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Atlantic Winter Skate (Raja ocellata) fishery in the Northwest Atlantic has been certified sustainable against the MSC fisheries standard. The assessment, executed by independent conformity assessment body MRAG Americas, Inc. was requested by the Sustainable Fisheries Association whose members include: Cape Ann Seafood Exchange, Inc.; Marder Trawling, Inc.; and Seatrade International. The assessment was completed as part of a scope extension under the U.S. Atlantic spiny dogfish fishery certificate. 

Skate are a relative of sharks and rays and have a kite-like shape. The skate fishery began to develop in the 1990s as it was marketed as an ‘underutilized species’. Winter skates can be caught by bottom trawl, longline or gillnet in state and federal waters off the Atlantic coast of the USA. Skates are not known to undertake large-scale migrations but do move seasonally in response to changes in water temperature, moving offshore in summer and early autumn and returning inshore during winter and spring.  

“Congratulations to Sustainable Fisheries Association on achieving MSC certification for another well managed US fishery,” said Brian Perkins, Regional Director of the Americas for the Marine Stewardship Council. “They have demonstrated their hard work in sustaining the skate fishery, and in meeting the MSC fisheries sustainability standard.” 

Attorney John Whiteside, who represents the Sustainable Fisheries Association said: “The certification of the fishery allows consumers to buy winter skate with the confidence that the fishery will continue to be operated and managed in a sustainable manner. We are committed to preserving a way of life for commercial fishermen and their families while minimizing ecosystem impact to insure the winter skate fishery is sustainable for generations to come.” 

The fishery is certified until 2024 and will undergo annual audits within that timeframe to ensure the MSC standard continues to be met. 

Source: MSC

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