A small Manitoba lake has the distinction of being the first freshwater fishery in the Western Hemisphere to be certified as sustainable.

Waterhen Lake, north of Lake Manitoba, produces walleye, also known as pickerel, and northern pike.

The international Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has only certified one other freshwater fishery in the world.

The certification means the walleye and northern pike from the Waterhen Lake fishery are now eligible to carry the blue MSC ecolabel.

Waterhen Lake, in the province's Interlake region, has been commercially fished since 1931.

In order to participate in the commercial fishery, individuals are required to be a member of the Lake Waterhen Fishermen's Association and follow strict harvesting rules.

They catch 70,000 kilograms of fish annually, most of it exported to the United States and Europe.