Seafood seal ensures responsible fishing

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – A new symbol is taking the guesswork out of seafood shopping.

Illustrated by Steven Noble in collaboration with GMRI, the new seal will identify products caught in the Gulf of Maine, which stretches from Cape Cod to the southern tip of Nova Scotia.

Only seafood that has been harvested responsibly from theGulf of Maine region can earn the new quality seal from theGulf of Maine Research Institute.

Jen Levin is the Institute’s sustainable seafood manager.  She recently spoke with NEWS CENTER’s Lee Nelson about the criteria for the seal.

Levin said seafood producers must prove their fisheries are well-managed.  They must demonstrate the steps they take to prevent over-harvesting and explain the science used to reach their conclusions.  An effort must also be made to ensure that those fishing standards are monitored and enforced.

Levin said the Institute will work with fishermen to meet the annual goals required to qualify for the seal.  They will develop strategies to reduce bycatch, minimize habitat impact, protect spawning waters and lessen energy consumption.

In addition to the environmental benefits, Levin said the seal also helps the state economy.  It guarantees to shoppers that the money they spend on seafood supports a locally-produced product.

Some of the species that already meet the conditions for the seal include cod, haddock, northern shrimp and American lobster.  Levin said pollack and scallops are close to being added to the list.

Hanaford is the first supermarket to reach a deal with the Institute to prominently feature the seal at its stores.  Levin said it should begin appearing soon in the company’s seafood cases.

For more information about the seal, click here for a link to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s website.

See full post here: Steven Noble Illustrations2011-05-13.