MOSS POINT, Miss., and NEW ORLEANS - June 4, 2019 - Today, the Gulf of Mexico menhaden purse seine fishery was
for certification against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fisheries standard by independent certification body SAI Global. The recommendation means that both U.S. menhaden fisheries-the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico-have been recommended for MSC's rigorous sustainability certification.
"The recommendation for MSC certification for our Gulf of Mexico operations is a testament to the hard work we've put in over many years to conduct responsible operations," said Bret Scholtes, CEO of Omega Protein. "The fact that both of the nation's menhaden fisheries have now been recommended for MSC certification should assure customers and the public alike that our products meet the highest standards of sustainability."
The two participants in the Gulf menhaden fishery, Omega Protein and Daybrook Fisheries, jointly requested the evaluation of the fishery for MSC certification in 2017.
"Sustainable fishing is important for both the environment and for the future of our business," said Scott Herbert, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Daybrook Fisheries. "MSC certification will help this fishery meet the demand for sustainable products, while continuing to be an economic engine here for years to come."
There will now be a 15 working day period in which registered stakeholders may submit formal objections to SAI Global's recommendation. If objections are received, they will be handled by an independent adjudicator.
As part of the MSC certification process, independent certifiers evaluate a fishery against 28 performance indicators in three categories: sustainability of the stock, efforts to minimize environmental impacts, and effective management. To achieve certification, a fishery must score a minimum of 60 out of 100 in all 28 indicators, and an average of 80 in each category.
In their report recommending certification, SAI Global praised the Gulf of Mexico menhaden fishery for, among other things, extensive surveys and monitoring of the ecosystem and menhaden stock, a comprehensive fishery management plan, and a robust governance and policy framework. The report also noted that menhaden-specific conservation and management measures are in place, and menhaden biomass is well above single species threshold levels while fishing effort is well below the threshold.
The most recent benchmark stock assessment of Gulf menhaden, published in December 2018, found that the population is healthy and sustainably managed, and that the stock is not overfished nor experiencing overfishing.
About Omega Protein
Omega Protein Corporation is a century old nutritional product company that develops, produces and delivers healthy products throughout the world to improve the nutritional integrity of foods, dietary supplements and animal feeds. Omega Protein's mission is to help people lead healthier lives with better nutrition through sustainably sourced ingredients such as highly-refined specialty oils, specialty proteins products and nutraceuticals. Omega Protein is a division of Cooke Inc., a family owned fishery company based in New Brunswick, Canada.
The Company operates seven manufacturing facilities located in the United States, Canada and Europe. The Company also has a long-term supply contract with Alpha VesselCo, LLC which owns 30 vessels which harvest menhaden, a fish abundantly found off the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. The Company's website is
All fishing vessels formerly owned by Omega Protein are owned and operated by Alpha VesselCo, LLC, an independent company.
About Daybrook Fisheries
Daybrook Fisheries Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Oceana Group Ltd, a publicly traded company listed on the Johannesburg (JSE) and Namibian (NSX) stock exchanges, which is headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa. Oceana Group is ranked as one of the top 10 seafood companies in the world by market capitalization, revenue growth, share price performance and EBITDA.
Daybrook was incorporated in 1990, but traces its roots back to 1949 as Quinn Menhaden. Through an exclusive long-term supply agreement with Westbank Fishing LLC, an independent fishing business that owns and operates 11 vessels, menhaden are caught and delivered to the dock at Daybrook's production facility. The fish are immediately processed into fishmeal and fish oil through a modern state-of-the-art plant rebuilt in the late 2000's after Hurricane Katrina. Daybrook's plant is typically the largest single producer of menhaden products in the world. Daybrook's fishmeal markets include petfood, aquafeed, and piglet feeds while the oil is destined for aquafeed, cattle and petfood consumers both internationally and within the US marketplace.
Director of Public Affairs, Omega Protein
Vice President - Sales & Marketing, Daybrook Fisheries
(504) 561-6163, ext. 1276