Oregon’s most lucrative fishery just got even more valuable – just in time for the fleet to go fishing.
The Marine Stewardship Council today announced its approval of Oregon Dungeness crab as a sustainable fishery. The crab being caught off the Oregon coast can now carry the blue MSC label in the marketplace, earning them extra value with eco-conscious consumers.
Oregon is the world’s top producer of Dungeness crab, which the state’s fleet of 425 boats fishes with pots about 10 miles off the coast from December through August. By choosing the season and fishing only larger males, the fleet has ensured a steady supply of crab since the 1800s. The fishery is now worth nearly $45 million in landed crab value.
If the sustainable label pays off, the crab could now be worth more in some markets, and can be marketed to new places. Nick Furman, administrator of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission said he’s looking forward to seeing what the new label can do – particularly as awareness of sustainable seafood grows worldwide.
The fishery had to make some improvements to its management system to secure the label and make sure sustainability measurements are in place going forward (until now, the size, sex, season guidelines have been the primary means of ensuring sustainability). To meet MSC standards, the fishery will need to measure female and young male crab populations.
Kerry Coughlin, regional director for MSC Americas, said:
“The Oregon Dungeness crab fishery has demonstrated that they are a model fishery in terms of environmental sustainability and working hard to maintain and improve the overall health of the fishery. They have accomplished significant improvements already and have committed to even more progress as part of their MSC certification. We are pleased to have this important fishery in the MSC program and are confident consumers will welcome this source of delicious, and now certified sustainable, Dungeness crab.”