Fresh Sustainable Seafood Catches on at WSU Dining

WSU is first university in state to serve certified sustainable seafood

Feb 10, 2016, 19:15 ET from Marine Stewardship Council

PULLMAN, Wash., Feb. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- With issues as broad and impactful as ocean health, day-to-day actions may seem like a drop in the bucket. However, thanks to a new initiative, Washington State University (WSU) students can enjoy their seafood at the dining centers without worrying about the negative impact of what is on their plate.

As of February, WSU became the first university in Washington state, and one of a dozen institutions of higher education around the country, to lead the way in committing to serving Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified seafood in its dining centers.

"It is really reflective of what we here at Washington State believe. Instead of waiting for trends to come to us, we take a very proactive approach to be ahead of the curve," said Gary Coyle, director of WSU Dining Services.

The Marine Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organization, established to safeguard seafood supplies for the future. Recognized as the world's leading certification program for sustainable, wild-caught seafood, the MSC works with leaders within the fishing industry and seafood sector to create a more sustainable seafood market.

The MSC ecolabel on a seafood product means that it is sourced from a sustainable and well-managed fishery and is traceable from ocean to plate. Close to 10 percent of the annual global harvest of wild-capture fisheries are MSC certified.

"It brings a level of confidence to our students. We now have a third-party certification which recognizes our commitment to sustainability," Coyle said. 

Students can continue to enjoy their favorite seafood dishes at the dining center. All seafood that is MSC certified is labeled, letting students know that what they are eating is sustainably caught. The centers will also feature MSC certified seafood on Fridays throughout February and March.

"We looked at what we are currently doing in our menus, and we decided that these are types of seafood that would fit well in our recipes," Coyle said. "We use salmon often and so we looked at an MSC certified salmon versus salmon that we got from somewhere else."

"We congratulate Washington State University on the achievement of attaining MSC certification and serving sustainable seafood to students, staff and faculty on campus," said Brian Perkins, MSC regional director, Americas. "As the first university in Washington state to earn MSC certification, WSU is leading the way in contributing to the health of the world's oceans for future generations."

The MSC certification is just one of several initiatives led by WSU Dining Services to increase the sustainability of the food that ends up on students' plates. In 2015, Dining Services received a two-star SPE certification. The SPE program focuses on both nutrition and the environmental impact of the foods that WSU Dining Services offers.

Dining Services also works with local farmers and ranchers to supply as many local ingredients as possible. These include produce from the WSU organic farm, berries from Walla Walla, Wash. and flour from Shepherd's Grain, a locally based grower's co-op.

Despite the extra effort and logistics, Coyle believes MSC and SPE are both worth it. "It's something you have to earn. You have to put some effort forward to receive this recognition," he said.

For more information about WSU Dining Services' sustainable practices visit:

About Washington State University (WSU)

Washington State University is a land-grant university located in Pullman, Wash. Since 1890, WSU has inspired the next generation of problem solvers through education. WSU offers 95 undergraduate majors, 86 minors, and more than 100 in-major specializations and is home to over 20,000 students from across the country and around the world. For more information about WSU, visit

About Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organization. The MSC vision is for the world's oceans to be teeming with life, and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations. The ecolabel and certification program recognizes and rewards sustainable fishing practices and is helping create a more sustainable seafood market.

The MSC ecolabel on a seafood product means that:

  • It comes from a wild-catch fishery which has been independently certified to the MSC's science-based standard for environmentally sustainable fishing.
  • It's fully traceable to a sustainable source.

More than 270 fisheries in over 35 countries are certified to the MSC Fishery Standard. These fisheries have a combined annual seafood production of almost nine million metric tons, representing close to 10% of annual global yields. More than 28,000 seafood products worldwide carry the MSC ecolabel. For more information visit

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Melissa Mefford
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SOURCE Marine Stewardship Council