TRANSCRIPT - Terry Gardiner
Gardiner is the CEO of Norquest Seafoods in Juneau, Alaska.
Why have you, as a processor, decided to be certified by the Marine
We see a growing
concern of our customers around the world, both in the United States
and Europe, about whether our fisheries are sustainable, are fisheries
being managed? Weve seen a concern over, say, swordfish. Theres
a lot of concern over environmental issues pollution in rivers.
And its just a growing thing happening all over the world.
Why do you think the Alaskan salmon fishery is a prime candidate
for being a certified as a sustainable enterprise?
Alaska at one
time, more than a century ago was a virgin fishery and Alaska learned
the hard way that they could over fish a resource. And that was
really one of the primary things behind Alaska becoming a state.
And since Alaska
has become a state, theres been quite a system of conservation
management being instituted to be sure that we have a renewable
resource and its managed on a sustained basis. And thats
really why today we have really healthy salmon runs in contrast
to a lot of other places around the world.
Whats your take on what the Marine Stewardship Council label
is going to mean to consumers?
I think when
people go shopping nowadays, they look for a lot of things. Dolphin
free tuna is an example of a thing that they look at. They read
the nutrition label. They want to know what theyre buying,
and I dont think that every consumer is going to read every
label. But I think a lot of people look at what they are buying
and investing in and want more information and they are going to
see this label and feel that somebody has looked at the scientific
side and made sure that this is a sustainable fishery and they are
buying a product that they feel okay about.
What does it mean to have a sustainable fishery?
fishery means a fishery that is renewable that can be fished year
after year at the same fishery level and still be there ten, twenty,
thirty years from now like Alaska salmon.
Do you think that certification has the potential to encourage sustainable
Yeah. I think
that the sustainable fisheries emblem is going to catch on and have
a lot of impact. And it really is going to go back to what consumers
care about. If consumers care about what theyre buying and
why theyre buying it and they want to see fisheries sustained,
then businesses are going to follow it and ultimately the government,
the people who regulate the fisheries, are going to respond to the
public sector and realize that they too have to do something about
making fisheries sustainable. And not focus so much on the short
run how much fish can we catch this year and then
a year later find out theres no fish and have to close down
Why is the MSC label a credible sign that the seafood product has
been produced in a sustainable fishery?
right now there is nothing out that that the consumer can look at
on the label and feel any confidence that somebody that is, you
know, science based and doesnt have an axe to grind, thats
independent, and has actually looked and decided whether a fishery
is sustainable. And MSC is that.
Do you think that sustainable fishing practices are ultimately a
benefit to both the seafood industry and to consumers?
fisheries really are a benefit most of all to the industry, not
just to consumers, because what we have in many fisheries around
the world is this boom bust cycle which is totally destructive to
the fishermen to the processors to everyone in the economic chain
who is dependent on it.
really for our own good, as an industry, to have a sustainable fishery
In our short
term greed we get carried away and over fish because we are worried
about today and forget about the future. And I think the sustainable
fisheries helps us do what we ought to do whats good
You mentioned that sustainability is in the states constitution.
Does that come to bear on the fact that salmon is going to be one
of the first fisheries to be certified?
I think one
of the unique things about Alaska is the fact that our constitution
here in the state of Alaska, which is a modern constitution mandated
and put right into the natural resources section of the constitution
that the fisheries has to be managed in a scientific, sustain-yield
And that has
created a platform and kind of a driver for the state government
to govern the state like that. And I think people in Alaska believe
in it and follow it and believe in it because it is part of their
How are you going to use the label in terms of educating your clients
Our plan at
Norquest is to use the MSC certification as a competitive edge and
we will be going to our customers in Asia, and the United States
and Europe and telling them hey, weve got this certification.
And using it as a sales point about Alaska salmon and encouraging
them to use that in their packaging and with their label so they
can differentiate themselves.
are looking for a way to differentiate themselves. And a way to
promote Alaska salmon which they are investing in their labeling
and their marketing programs so I think they are going to be looking
been a lot of attention on health issues and environmental issues
and all of this, this whole area. A lot of concern about food and
where its coming from and our customers are really tuned into