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Skidmore College Earns Chain of Custody Certification for Seafood

Andrew Burger headshotWords by Andrew Burger
Energy & Environment
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New York's Skidmore College is one of three universities in the state to earn Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody Certification. Spanning the entire supply chain from fishery or fish farm to final sale, MSC's wild-caught seafood standard assures consumers that the seafood they are buying “comes from an independently-assessed and certified as environmentally sustainable fishery with full traceability.”

Students, faculty and staff at Skidmore College's bucolic campus in Saratoga Springs are now being served a variety of fresh, wild-caught seafood certified to have been sustainably caught, processed and distributed. At present, this includes MSC-certified haddock, pollock and cod. Skidmore's Dining Services intends to add other MSC-certified seafood to the dining hall's menu cycle.

Earning MSC chain of custody certification is the latest in Skidmore College's efforts to enhance overall sustainability, both on-campus and off. Based in upstate New York, the liberal arts college has installed an array of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. No fewer than 29 buildings on Skidmore's campus are equipped with geothermal heating and cooling systems. And Skidmore's sustainability initiatives don't stop there.

Assuring sustainability across the seafood supply chain


MSC's Chain of Custody certification is a global, science-based assurance that seafood packaged with the blue MSC eco-label “can be traced back to a fishery that has been certified and well-managed,” the organization explains on its website. That assurance extends across the seafood supply chain to include processors and distributors.

Five core principles define the MSC sustainable seafood chain of custody standard:


  1. Purchasing from a certified supplier;

  2. Certified products are identifiable;

  3. Certified products are segregated;

  4. Traceable and volumes are recorded: and

  5. The organization has a management system.

Sustainability at Skidmore

Skidmore Dining Services introduced MSC-certified seafood at the college's fourth annual American Culinary Federation (ACF) Conference and Competition in January. Skidmore's culinary team won an ACF gold medal for a dish based on MSC-certified sea scallops.

Earning the MSC certification for wild-caught seafood is the latest accomplishment for Skidmore as it ramps up its efforts to enhance social and environmental sustainability. “Sustainability is a key theme in our dining facilities and we’re committed to reducing impact on the environment and increasing sustainable initiatives,” Mark Miller, director of Dining Services, was quoted in an MSC news release.

“MSC Chain of Custody certification is a sign of our commitment to sustainability. Skidmore’s Dining Services believes that by obtaining MSC certification, college students and staff are able to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by choosing seafood that can be traced back to fisheries that have achieved the MSC standard for sustainable fishing.”

Skidmore Dining Services includes composting coffee-grounds, zero-sort recycling, efforts to repurpose fryer oil product as fuel, eliminating trays from the dining hall, and providing refillable water-bottle stations that have saved the equivalent of 171,816 bottles to date.

“We congratulate Skidmore College for their leadership and efforts to recognize and reward sustainable fishing practices through the achievement of MSC Chain of Custody certification,” said Geoff Bolan, U.S. program director for MSC. “Skidmore Dining’s commitment to offer seafood that has been certified to the global, science-based MSC standard, will help to ensure sustainable seafood for this and future generations.”

*Image credits: 1), MSC; 2) Accenutre, MSC; 3) Skidmore College

Andrew Burger headshotAndrew Burger

An experienced, independent journalist, editor and researcher, Andrew has crisscrossed the globe while reporting on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, social and environmental entrepreneurship, renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. He studied geology at CU, Boulder, has an MBA in finance from Pace University, and completed a certificate program in international governance for biodiversity at UN University in Japan.

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