The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the world's largest sustainable fisheries certification group, announced Thursday it has appointed former American Seafoods CEO Mikel Durham to its board of trustees.
Durham joins former Thai Union executive Darian McBain, Telkom Kenya's Eddy Njoroge, Chilean politician Sergio Espejo Yaksic, and Patagonia Provisions co-founder Birgit Cameron as new trustees on the board.
Hartwig Schafer has also become the new chair of the MSC board of trustees. He is taking over in July when the current chairman, Werner Kiene, retires.
Durham's appointment is particularly notable given that her former company focuses exclusively on Alaska pollock.
Alaska pollock remains one of the backbones of the MSC program. Both the US and Russian fisheries are certified to the standard, and make up a huge volume of the consumer-facing MSC products on the market.
Activists as well as seafood companies have been questioning the validity of the MSC label in determining the sustainability of seafood products.
Recent class action lawsuits, including some filed by consumers of Conagra-owned Mrs. Paul's and Van de Kamps frozen fish and Bumble Bee's canned tuna alleging they were harmed by the use of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-labeling on their products, could lead to companies needing more than a certification label to market themselves as sustainable.
Following a suspension by the MSC last year, the Gulf of Maine lobster fishery dropped its effort to renew its current MSC eco-label, with some saying the certification isn't crucial for the shellfish.
The MSC board of trustees is the group's governing body. With advice from its technical advisory board and stakeholder advisory council, it sets the strategic direction of the MSC, monitors progress and ensures the MSC meets its objectives.
The board of trustees meets four times a year and has a maximum of 15 members.
More than 450 fisheries are certified to the MSC standard, and the label is carried on around 10,000 products, the group says. It employs about 250 staff and operates out of 26 locations with 22 offices.
Durham, who took over from former American Seafoods owner and CEO Bernt Bodal in 2017, left abruptly in February 2022. She was replaced by longtime food industry executive Einar Gustafsson.