Spanish seafood giant Nueva Pescanova, Asia-based retailer Aeon, and U.S. wholesale distributor Santa Monica Seafood have joined the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) as funding partners.
The GSSI, launched in October 2015, is the creator and operator of the GSSI Global Benchmark Tool, which provides clarity on and transparency in seafood certification by recognizing robust and credible certification schemes, and supporting them in identifying areas for improvement.
Santa Monica Seafood President and CEO Roger O’Brien said GSSI’s Benchmark Tool has become a vital tool for the seafood industry since its inception.
“With a growing proliferation of certifications, GSSI is needed to ensure a common, consistent and global benchmark exists for all these seafood certification schemes. Only by doing so, will everyone involved in the seafood industry, including retailers, foodservice operators, and even consumers, have confidence in the supply and sustainability of certified seafood,” O’Brien said. “We are impressed with GSSI’s accomplishments to date and with the growing list of companies, national and international, putting their money, time and effort into supporting GSSI’s vision for more sustainable seafood for everyone.”
Herman Wisse, managing director of GSSI’s Secretariat, commended Rancho Dominguez, California-based Santa Monica Seafood’s efforts to offer more sustainable seafood options and increase community understanding on environmental responsibility.
“This proven commitment to seafood sustainability across the seafood supply chain makes them a strong addition to the GSSI Global Partnership,” he said.
Wisse also said GSSI was “thrilled” to be joining forces with the Nueva Pescanova, a vertically integrated seafood company based in Redondela, Spain, which recorded more than EUR 1 billion (USD 1.15 billion) in sales in 2016.
“With Nueva Pescanova Group’s global presence, the GSSI partnership continues to expand its reach and ability to further its mission towards more sustainable seafood for everyone,” he said. “Grupo Nueva Pescanova’s vertical integration makes them a strong addition to the GSSI Global Partnership, and reinforces the growing importance of seafood sustainability across the entire supply chain,”
In a press release, Ángel Matamoro, Nueva Pescanova’s chief corporate social responsibility officer, said the partnership with GSSI “is very important for us to continue improving and effectively developing our commitment to the preservation of aquatic ecosystems and the marine environment and to ensure consumers’ confidence in certified seafood.”
Wisse also said he was excited to add the largest retailer in Asia to his organization’s list of funding partners. Aeon is the first Asia-based retailer to join GSSI’s global partnership, he said. GSSI also announced the addition of Seafood Legacy Co. as an affiliated partner and named Wakao Hanaoka, Seafood Legacy’s program director, to its steering board. Seafood Legacy is a consulting firm that supports sustainable seafood businesses and environmental organizations in Japan and around the world.
“We are delighted that Aeon and Seafood Legacy have become part of our partner community and that Mr. Wakao Hanaoka has joined our Steering Board,” Wisse said. “This is a great opportunity for GSSI, Seafood Legacy and Aeon to expand the GSSI global partnership in Asia and continue the foundation’s mission towards more sustainable seafood for everyone.”
Wisse said the strengthening of GSSI’s presence in Asia – and particularly in Japan – is especially important in advance of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games announced earlier this year that they utilized GSSI’s Benchmark Tool to develop the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Sustainable Sourcing Code.
“In the lead-up to the Olympic Paralympic Summer Games in Tokyo in 2020, awareness around seafood sustainability is rapidly increasing in Japan,” Hanaoka aid. “I believe GSSI is a unique platform to help push the sustainability conversation forward within the seafood industry in Japan, as well as, help regional certification schemes align with international accepted best practices.”