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Pomona College Becomes First Liberal Arts College to Obtain Marine Stewardship Council Sustainable Seafood Certification

Marine Stewardship Council logo

Pomona College has made another significant step in its leadership on campus sustainability issues by becoming the first liberal arts college in the nation to earn the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody certification. This enables Pomona College Dining Services to serve its students, faculty, staff and guests MSC-certified sustainable seafood.

According to Glenn Graziano, general manager of Pomona College Dining Services, “This is a major benchmark in the journey that began earlier this year when the College took over dining operations after many years of contracting with outside food service management. Among the goals of Pomona’s Sustainability Action Plan is to offer food that has been harvested responsibly, and the MSC certification ensures that the seafood we serve meets that criteria."

MSC’s “Chain of Custody” system assures that in every step of the chain--from the fishers, to the processor, to the distributor and the end user--MSC-certified seafood is not mixed with or substituted for non-certified seafood. The MSC certification process includes an audit conducted by a third party certifier as well as training of front line staff.

"Our staff have been trained how to order, receive and account for MSC-certified seafood," says Graziano, "They all understand how important this certification is to the school’s commitment to sustainability and for the students and guests we serve." Pomona has purchased 7,667 pounds of seafood since January at a cost of $60,797.

Pomona College was one of only eight colleges across the nation that received an A grade from the Sustainable Endowments Institute 2011 College Sustainability Report Card. Among the College’s sustainability initiatives are a commitment to high green building standards, reducing the campus’ impact on natural resources, a plan to make the campus more pedestrian friendly, and a commitment to promoting awareness of environmental issues.

"Pomona College is recognized nationally as a leader in college sustainability," said Kerry Coughlin, regional director, MSC Americas, "This certification is another demonstration of their commitment to sustainability on campus, and will have a far reaching impact on the world’s oceans. We congratulate Pomona for making the commitment to source and serve MSC-certified seafood."

The MSC maintains the most widely respected and accepted global standard for the certification of wild capture seafood. The program is based on a rigorous science-based standard and independent, third-party assessment by internationally accredited certification bodies. The MSC standard is based on three core principles: health of the stock; impact on the marine ecosystem; and management of the fishery. The distinctive MSC blue ecolabel is a trust-mark to buyers and consumers worldwide confirming that the seafood comes from a sustainable fishery that has been awarded MSC-certification.

About the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organization set up to promote solutions to the problem of overfishing. The MSC runs the only certification and ecolabeling program for wild-capture fisheries consistent with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization guidelines for fisheries certification. The FAO guidelines for the ecolabeling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries require that credible fishery certification and ecolabeling programs include:

  • Objective, third-party fishery assessment utilizing scientific evidence;
  • Transparent processes with built-in stakeholder consultation and objection procedures;
  • Standards based on the sustainability of target species, ecosystems and management practices.

The MSC has offices in London, Seattle, Tokyo, Sydney, The Hague, Glasgow, Berlin, Cape Town, Paris, Madrid and Stockholm.

In total 258 fisheries are engaged in the MSC program with 118 certified and 140 under full assessment. Another 40 to 50 fisheries are in confidential pre-assessment. Together, fisheries already certified or in full assessment record annual catches of close to nine million metric tons of seafood. This represents over 10% of the annual global harvest of wild capture fisheries. Certified fisheries currently land over five million metric tons of seafood annually – close to 6% of the total harvest from wild capture fisheries. Worldwide, more than 10,000 seafood products, which can be traced back to the certified sustainable fisheries, bear the blue MSC eco-label.

For more information on the work of the MSC, please visit

Media Contacts

Mike DeCesare
Communications Director - Americas
Marine Stewardship Council (Seattle, WA)
Phone: (206) 631-2496

Cynthia Peters
Director, Media Relations
Pomona College
Phone: (909) 621-8515