Whiting – The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) awarded Bar Harbor Foods® the MSC US Ocean Champion Award for going above and beyond the MSC standards in 2020, and for their continued dedication to seafood sustainability. Bar Harbor Foods® has been a leader in this space over the course of their thirteen-year partnership with the MSC – now displaying the MSC blue fish label on more than 20 qualifying products under the Bar Harbor brand. Brian Cote, National Sales Director, accepted the award on behalf of Bar Harbor in a small ceremony in Whiting, Maine presented by MSC’s Senior Commercial Manager, Nicole Condon.
“It’s an honor for us to be recognized for simply being who we are. Sustainability has been a focal point of our platform for more than a decade, not just something to participate in when it is trendy,” said Cote.
“As a long-term partner, Bar Harbor has repeatedly shown leadership and innovation in their sourcing and integration of the MSC blue fish label as a staple component of their brand,” said Eric Critchlow, MSC’s program director, USA. “They have shown that much of their innovation centers around including MSC certified sustainable sources in their product development. It will be exciting to see what Bar Harbor will develop next!”
Over the course of their thirteen years working with the MSC, Bar Harbor has been an active supporter of the MSC mission and a market leader with sustainably sourced MSC certified seafood products available in the retail sector. In 2008, the company introduced the first MSC ecolabeled seafood soups to the marketplace and followed up with the first ever MSC certified clam chowder available in 2017. Bar Harbor will be introducing the first-ever MSC certified condiments this summer including cocktail and tartar sauces using MSC certified clam juice.
The MSC US Ocean Champion Award was established in 2017 to reward fisheries and companies engaged in the MSC program who demonstrate continued leadership on sustainability above and beyond the MSC fisheries or Chain of Custody standards. Bar Harbor joins past winners including: Sam’s Club; the Annette Island Reserve Salmon Fishery, Metlakatla Indian Community; Bamboo Sushi and the Sustainable Restaurant Group; US Foods; Whole Foods Market; and TransOcean. Awardees are selected based on their demonstrated leadership and the ability to spark positive change within the industry. The custom glass award featuring a wave and the company’s name is handmade in downtown Seattle, WA.
According to a 2020 global consumer study commissioned by the MSC, 55% of U.S. seafood consumers believe that we must consume seafood only from sustainable sources to protect the ocean. Furthermore, 64% of Americans want retailers’ and brands’ claims about sustainability and the environment to be clearly labeled by an independent organization, such as the MSC.
The ocean feeds billions of people and provides 80% of the world’s biodiversity. A report by the UN Food & Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) shows that sustainable fisheries are more productive and resilient to change, and the UN Environment Program reports that sustainable fishing protects ocean biodiversity2. The leadership of companies like Bar Harbor makes sustainable fisheries and supply chains possible and makes certified sustainable seafood products easily accessible and identifiable for consumers.
About the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
The Marine Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organization. Our vision is for the world’s oceans to be teeming with life, and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations. Our blue label and certification program recognizes and rewards sustainable fishing practices and is helping create a more sustainable seafood market. More than 370 fisheries in over 36 countries are certified to the MSC’s Standard. These fisheries have a combined annual seafood production of over eleven million metric tons, representing almost 15% of global marine catch. More than 38,000 seafood products worldwide carry the MSC label. For more information visit www.msc.org or follow @MSCBlueFish on social media.