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Mediation proposed for salmon sustainability certification squabble

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The salmon processors at odds over who gets the blue-label sustainability certification needed to sell fish in certain European markets are expected to enter mediation next week.

 Audio transcript:

KDLG: The Marine Stewardship Council will facilitate mediation for the salmon processors who disagree about who can participate in the client group that has the council’s sustainability certification. Back in April, ten of Alaska’s major salmon buyers asked to rejoin the label they dropped in 2012, saying it will help them tap back into picky European markets.

Chris Hladick, the state’s new commissioner of commerce, community and economic development, said the department is keeping an eye on the process.

“They will provide a mediator in Seattle between the groups,” Hladick said. “APSA is the group that has the MSC certification, and then there’s a host of other processors that want to join in to the MSC certificate so they can sell their fish in Europe this summer.”

Alaska Governor Bill Walker sent a letter to the MSC on May 18 about the issue. Hladick said the state doesn’t have a role in the mediation process, and doesn’t plan to apply for certification right now.

“The letter was sent strictly to try to get some movement on the issue,” Hladick said. “Of course the issue is, for the state of Alaska, we want to sell salmon.”

Hladick says the European markets are important for selling Alaskan fish, particularly given the strong runs forecast this summer.

Contact the author at fish@kdlg.org.