GMRI's Sustainable Seafood Program has worked to raise consumer awareness of Gulf of Maine seafood that is responsibly harvested and managed through the Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested (GoMRH) seafood branding program. The GoMRH program verifies that certain species and stocks meet important criteria around sustainability and traceability. The program has currently verified seven species from the Gulf of Maine, two of which are now considered overfished - Gulf of Maine cod and northern shrimp.
This raises the question as to how a program striving for seafood sustainability can verify species classified by fishery regulators as "overfished" or "overfishing occurring." One of the criteria for verification stipulates that if a stock is below its management target level, then a management plan must be in place that will enable rebuilding within a specified timeframe. Additional criteria focus on management, science, monitoring, and enforcement components.
So what does this mean for the program's verification of cod and northern shrimp? Each species will be re-verified as management measures are finalized to ensure these species still meet the program's criteria.
Ultimately, the goal is to communicate accurately about the species that are being well managed, and help seafood buyers and consumers make informed choices that support sustainable practices. As fishery managers move to implement adaptive measures and finalize assessments and regulations, the program will continue to keep the consuming public informed.
For more information: GMRI Responsibly Harvested Branding Program