BEDFORD, NS, July 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Clearwater Seafoods Inc. ( Clearwater) announced today the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of its Arctic surf clam fishery. In combination with the certification of the Nova Scotia snow crab fishery last week, Clearwater now boasts a total of seven species certified by the MSC, completing the certification of all its core products, and giving the Company the widest selection of MSC-certified species of any seafood harvester worldwide.
These certifications represent a collection of significant milestones for Clearwater. The deep-water clam fishery is the first of its kind globally to obtain MSC certification, while the snow crab fishery is the first in North America. These species join the Clearwater family of MSC-certified offerings including Canadian sea scallops, Argentine scallops, Canadian coldwater shrimps and Eastern Canadian offshore lobster.
"The MSC certification of our Arctic surf clams and Nova Scotia snow crab further supports our leadership position and our aspiration to be the world's most extraordinary, wild seafood company," said Ian Smith, Clearwater CEO. "It gives me great pleasure to announce that Clearwater's full line of core species offerings are now certified to the world-recognized gold standard in sustainable fisheries."About the fisheries The Arctic surf clam fishery operates year-round in Banquereau Bank off the coast of Nova Scotia and Grand Bank off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Clearwater has invested in and developed the Arctic surf clam fishery since its inception in 1986 and is the sole supplier for this high-quality product. The primary markets for Arctic surf clams are Japan and China, with a secondary market in the U.S. The Nova Scotia snow crab fishery operates seasonally from early May to mid September on the eastern portion of the Scotian Shelf off Nova Scotia. The snow crab product is processed into clusters consisting of one side of the crab with legs and claw attached. It is primarily sold in the U.S. "We are extremely proud that these two fisheries have achieved MSC certification. It is a significant milestone for our company and for the international markets that we serve," said Christine Penney, Vice President of Sustainability and Public Affairs for Clearwater. " Clearwater's commitment to sustainable harvesting practices is now independently verified as we provide the widest selection of MSC-certified species of any seafood harvester worldwide." MSC Certification To obtain MSC certification, the Arctic surf clam and Nova Scotia snow crab fisheries underwent third-party evaluations by independent certifiers. The certifiers completed thorough assessments of both fisheries' practices to meet the standards set out by the MSC for sustainability, environmental impact and good management practices. With the certification, Clearwater's Arctic surf clam and Nova Scotia snow crab products are now eligible to carry the blue MSC ecolabel in the marketplace. MSC-certified products have a growing audience in markets worldwide as a result of increased buyer and consumer interest for sustainable seafood products. The MSC logo is evidence the fishery meets strict environmental standards and the product originates from a sustainable and well-managed fishery. "The MSC is committed to working with partners like Clearwater to transform the world's seafood markets and promote sustainable fishing practices. As such, I am delighted to welcome the Arctic surf clam and Nova Scotia snow crab fisheries to the program," said Kerry Coughlin, Americas regional director for the MSC. "Market demand for internationally-recognized, third-party certified and labeled seafood is increasing around the world and we look forward to seeing products from these fisheries bear the distinctive MSC ecolabel." About Clearwater Clearwater Seafoods Inc. (TSX:CLR) is one of North America's largest vertically integrated seafood companies and the largest holder of shellfish licenses and quotas in Canada. With sales of over $330 million in 2011, the Bedford, NS based company has over 1,400 employees in offices, plants and vessels around the world. It is recognized globally for its superior quality, food safety, diversity of species and reliable worldwide delivery of premium wild, eco-certified seafood, including scallops, lobster, clams, coldwater shrimps and snow crab. Since its founding in 1976, Clearwater has invested in science, its people and technological innovation as well as resource ownership and management to sustain and grow its wild seafood resource. This commitment has allowed it to remain a leader in the global seafood market and in sustainable seafood excellence. About the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) The MSC is an international non-profit organization set up to help transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis. Fisheries that wish to demonstrate they are well managed and sustainable against the science-based MSC standards are assessed by a team of experts who are independent of both the fishery and the MSC. Seafood products can display the blue MSC ecolabel only if that seafood can be traced back through the supply chain to a fishery that has been certified against the MSC standard.