Generations of Fishing for the Future

Want Sustainable? Ask for Alaska

Understanding seafood sustainability can be confusing. To make it easy, just ask for Alaska to guarantee you receive wild and sustainably caught seafood.

What makes seafood sustainable? In Alaska, it’s seafood responsibly managed utilizing a world-leading science-based approach to help communities thrive for generations without compromising the ongoing health of the species or the health of the ecosystem. Sustainable seafood is the most environmentally efficient source of protein on the planet. In the United States, seafood is managed under a system of enforced environmentally responsible practices.

In Alaska, sustainable fishing is written directly into the state constitution.

Alaska's 5 Pillars of Sustainability

Wild seafood is one of Alaska’s most precious resources and our state goes to great lengths to ensure its continued abundance. From fishermen and processors to scientists and law enforcement officials, sustainability is not only crucial to Alaskans livelihoods, but a deeply-ingrained tradition. The five pillars of Alaska seafood sustainability tell the story of the important work Alaska does to ensure that sustainable Alaska seafood lands on your plate.

Families & Communities

Alaska’s fishing families are the heart and soul of Alaska’s seafood industry, handing down fishing practices from generation to generation and believing passionately in the importance of sustainability. In fact, many communities’ way of life depends on healthy wild fish stocks. That’s why Alaska fishermen and fishing communities are so dedicated to upholding Alaska’s strict fishing laws, using sustainable harvesting methods, and adhering to the latest scientific data and other robust fisheries management policies.

The seafood industry is the largest private sector employer in Alaska.

Alaska map

Small, rural towns and villages populate many parts of Alaska where commercial fishing is the

primary economic opportunity.

Many of the 9000+ boats in the Alaska fleet belong to multi-generational small family businesses.

Fisheries Management

Alaska pioneered applying successful, science-based sustainable management practices and serves as the gold standard for fisheries around the world. State, federal and international management programs share the goal of sustainability; each has a legal mandate to prevent overfishing or harm to ecosystems and fishing communities.

In Alaska, it's the law.

Sustainable fishing has been the law since 1959 when Alaska became the only state with sustainability written into its constitution. Article VIII institutes the practice of "Sustained Yield"

"Fish, forests, wildlife, grasslands, and all other replenishable resources belonging to the State shall be utilized, developed, and maintained on the sustained yield principle, subject to preferences among beneficial uses."

-  Article VIII, Alaska State Constitution

Alaska sets harvests to prioritize the stability of the marine ecosystem year after year.

This allows the ecosystem and seafood species to continue to replenish year after year. Managers conduct annual test fisheries or 'surveys' and use the data to determine the “total available” population, identify the “allowable catch” and set a lower “actual catch” limit to ensure that the wild population in Alaska's waters will always be sustainable.

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All fisheries in Alaska are regulated.

Subsistence - harvesting or possessing seafood by a resident of Alaska for subsistence, or noncommercial, customary and traditional uses
Personal use - the harvesting or possessing of seafood by a resident of Alaska for personal use and not for sale or barter,
Sport - fishing for personal use and not for sale or barter, and
Commercial - harvesting seafood for commercial, non-personal or subsistence uses

Regulation bodies graphic

Every aspect of fishing in Alaska is based on the latest scientific data.

This data is tracked and managed by a joint effort among state (Alaska Department of Fish and Game), federal (NOAA Fisheries ) and international bodies (International Pacific Halibut Commission, Pacific Salmon Commission). 

Did you know?

Alaska has never had a species of commercially harvested seafood on the endangered species list.

By monitoring stocks closely, and fishing responsibly, Alaska ensures its seafood can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Did you know?

Finfish farming is illegal in Alaska, guaranteeing that

all seafood from Alaska is wild, natural and sustainably harvested.

Resource Utilization

Generations of Alaskans have a long tradition of utilizing the entire resource. This goal now extends to seafood businesses who strive for maximum use of Alaska's abundant supply.

First, use it all.

Alaska has never had a seafood species on the endangered list.

In addition to full utilization of the seafood as shown above, many other parts of Alaska seafood like roe (fish eggs), collars and skin are sent to different markets where they are treasured around the world. After primary processing, Alaska seafood producers use the remaining materials to create products such as fishmeal and fish oil. This increases the value and creates diversity in the marketplace for Alaska seafood.

Alaska has never had a seafood species on the endangered list.

BONES

Used in pet food and fertilizer and also to remove heavy metals and radioactive waste from contaminated soil.

Milt & Stomachs

Highly valued specialty products.

Roe

Delicacy worldwide and highly valued as a specialty product.

Skin

Have healing properties, are used in textiles, and a biodegradable "plastic" can be made from fish scales.

Oil

A great source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids DHA & EPA, often used in vitamin supplements.

Social Responsibility

When it comes to seafood sustainability, protecting the fish and the ecosystem are often what first comes to mind. In Alaska, protections extend to the people as well. The Alaska seafood industry operates under a comprehensive suite of federal and state laws and regulations to create a safe and fair working environment for all people. These regulations are an important foundation in fostering a culture of social responsibility in the Alaska seafood industry. The Alaska seafood industry is the third largest job creator in the state. For many rural Alaska communities, the seafood industry is among the largest sources of employment, wages and tax revenue.

Here, people come first.

safety icons

Workers in Alaska are protected under multiple laws and organizations.

Fisheries in Alaska operate under a broad suite of federal and state laws and regulations ensuring workplace safety. Compliance is ensured through rigorous inspections and enforcement.

Salmon strips hanging

In Alaska food security takes priority over industry.

Our fisheries management system prioritizes subsistence fishing, which is the customary and traditional harvesting and use of wild seafood for food and cultural significance, an important part of life in rural Alaska.

Certification

Certification provides a way for fisheries to show responsible fisheries management and strong governance. Certification measures against a standard of best practices for how fisheries are sustainably managed and provides a high level of assurance that the seafood you purchase is verified as sustainable or responsible, was harvested legally, and is traceable back to its source. Alaska demonstrates this through dual independent, third party sustainable seafood certifications – Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Look for the logo

certified logos

Alaska Seafood is certified by both Alaska RFM & MSC

Both programs are benchmarked by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) and aligned with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the most comprehensive set of international standards and best practices for wild fisheries.

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