Fair Trade certification picks up steam and accolades in 2018

Published on
April 18, 2018

North American certifier Fair Trade USA's seafood program has experienced a great deal of growth since its inception in 2014, with even more expansion on the way for 2018, the organization announced on 16 April. 

To date, Fair Trade has certified more than 6,000 fishermen and seafood supply chain workers under its Capture Fisheries Standard, and has been selected as a SeaWeb Seafood Champion Awards finalist for its visionary approach to seafood sustainability. 

The certification body, which was first established as an organization in 1998,  applies what it refers to as an “innovative model of responsible business and conscious consumption” that “enables sustainable livelihoods for fishermen, workers, and their families around the world.” Fair Trade participants are empowered to improve their communities via the model by way of the Fair Trade Premium, which constitutes additional income earned for every pound of Fair Trade-certified seafood sold, the organization explained.  

So far, nine whole supply chains have been certified under the model, with several more in the pipeline, Fair Trade said. More than twenty North American retailers, including Safeway, Hy-Vee, and Whole Foods Market, carry Fair Trade-certified seafood products such as Indonesian yellowfin tuna, wild-caught Mexican blue shrimp from Del Pacifico Seafood, Maldivian skipjack tuna, Alaskan salmon, and scallops from New England. 

“Since 2014, fishermen in the Fair Trade program have earned USD 650,000 [EUR 524,651] in Fair Trade Premium funds, in addition to the price paid for their catch for product sold on Fair Trade terms,” said Julie Kuchepatov, Seafood Director at Fair Trade USA. 

“These funds have been invested a variety of environmental and social projects, including safety equipment and gear, ramped-up enforcement efforts, educational supplies for children in the community, conservation projects and infrastructure. We are honored to be recognized as a Seafood Champion Award finalist alongside leaders in the seafood industry and look forward to sharing this recognition with the thousands of fishermen and workers, working so hard at one of the most complex professions on the planet,” she said.

Members of the Fair Trade team, including Kuchepatov, will be attending the upcoming Seafood Expo Global event, to be held in Brussels, Belgium from 24 to 26 April. The exposition, which is considered to be the largest seafood trade event in the world, is on track to break even more records in 2018, organizer Diversified Communications said in March.

Photo courtesy of Bristol Seafood

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