SFP: Certification schemes not equivalent


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
February 14, 2012

In a briefing released on Wednesday, the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) cautioned that the Marine Stewardship Council program and the Food and Agriculture Organization-based Responsible Fisheries Management Certification program are not equivalent certification schemes.

The SFP e-mailed the briefing to its corporate partners, who are “actively” seeking the organization’s views on Alaska salmon processors’ January decision to pass on MSC recertification once the existing certificate expires in October, it said.

Last year, Alaska salmon was awarded Responsible Fisheries Management Certification via an independent, third-party assessment conducted by Global Trust Certification Ltd. and based on the FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

This scheme can credibly claim that the Alaska salmon fishery is “responsibly managed,” but it does not support a claim of “sustainability,” according to the SFP, adding that the MSC program “clearly sets a higher pass mark” than the Responsible Fisheries Management Certification program.

“It would be legitimate for retailers to ask the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to place the current logo on [Alaska seafood] products to establish geographical origin but remove the strapline ‘Wild, natural & sustainable,’” said the SFP. “Using the ASMI scheme in its current form might lay companies open to accusations of ‘greenwashing’ since it would appear as if they were trying to circumvent MSC improvement conditions on salmon hatcheries.”

The SFP added that the marketplace benefits from a range of certifications schemes “so long as the claims made for such certifications accurately represent what the schemes really measure.”

Click here to read the SFP’s briefing.

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