Europe commits to responsible seafood sourcing
The European Union Fish Processors and Traders Association (AIPCE-CEP), with the help of several prominent seafood companies from across the globe, has adopted a set of commitments and best practices for sourcing seafood responsibly throughout Europe.
The new guidelines, which cover both wild and farmed seafood, will provide a shared blueprint for processors and suppliers to support environmentally responsible seafood procurement, according to the AIPCE-CEP.
Under the auspices of the AIPCE-CEP1 Sustainability Group, executives from seafood heavyweights Findus Group, Birds Eye Iglo, A. Espersen, Iceland Group and Trident Seafoods, a U.S.-based firm, developed the guidelines, which were adopted by all AIPCE-CEP member associations at a meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, on 15 October. Called “Principles for Environmentally Responsible Fish Sourcing,” the guidelines are available on the AIPCE-CEP website.
On Wednesday, Findus Group re-emphasized its support for the guidelines.
“We have long-prioritized seafood sustainability with our Fish for Life program and so the adoption of a new AIPCE-wide collaborative approach on this issue is a very welcomed development,” said Stephen Parry of Findus Group, who served as the sustainability group’s technical advisor. “The new guidelines give all major European seafood processors a shared tool and language for what constitutes ‘responsible’ sourcing, which in turn creates a common platform to guide decisions and help processors collaborate more effectively as agents for change.”
(This week, Fish for Life was recognized with a Special Award for Environmental Excellence at the Food & Drink Federation’s annual community partnership awards, the sixth major award the program has received.)
According to AIPCE-CEP, the guidelines are a “common, risk-based approach to managing upstream seafood supply chains,” bringing together companies that were developing their own approaches to responsible seafood procurement.
There are nine commitments listed in the guidelines: cooperation; eliminating illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing; having fully traceable fish products; supporting independent standards; driving continuous improvement in fisheries and fish farming; using fact-based information sources; minimizing waste and discarding at sea; engaging in fishery improvement projects; and taking a broad environmental perspective.
The vision is “to secure long-term sustainable sources of marine and freshwater fish to provide high-quality nutritious food for today’s consumers and future generations. This will require us to set ambitious targets as well as to commit sufficient resources to support other stakeholders, such as governments and environmental NGOs, in delivering the vision.”