13 West Coast Fish Species Earn Sustainable Certification

A West Coast fishery once named a national disaster has earned sustainable seafood designation for 13 species of fish

Pictured: Hallmark Fisheries’ quality control coordinator at the time, Crystal Adams, left, and production plant manager Scott Adams display seafood processed in Charleston, Ore.

The Marine Stewardship Council has certified 13 species of groundfish caught off the West Coast, adding an estimated 41 million pounds per year of domestic and sustainable seafood available.

The designation of these species as sustainable will open up new markets for the West Coast trawl fishery, which spans California, Oregon, and Washington.

The thirteen species of groundfish which have been certified sustainable are: Chilipepper Rockfish, Longspine Thornyheads, Shortspine Thornyheads, Splitnose Rockfish, Widow Rockfish and Yellowtail Rockfish, Longnose Skates, Arrowtooth Flounder, Dover Sole, English Sole, Ling Cod, Petrale, and Sablefish (also known as Black Cod or Butterfish).

The designation from the Marine Stewardship Council — an independent, non-profit organization which sets standards for sustainable fishing— is a significant achievement by the fishery, which was declared a federal disaster in 2000.

In 2011, the trawl fishery finally adopted a catch share program, establishing scientifically determined quotas for the amount of fish that can be caught in order to ensure long-term sustainability.

“The changes made under the catch share program got us over many of the hurdles on our way to gaining MSC certification, which is a game-changer for us,” said Brad Pettinger, director of the Oregon Trawl Commission. “Working with the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service, we have renewed our social contract with America’s seafood consumers by demonstrating conclusively that we can manage and and harvest these species in a sustainable fashion.”


Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.