WWF: GSSI tool doesn’t go far enough

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued a statement today cautioning the seafood industry not to rely too heavily on the newly released Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) benchmarking tool, saying it does not go far enough to ensure sustainability.

GSSI said the tool, released last week, will recognize various sustainability certification programs worldwide based on a series of standards. Recognized programs will be listed on GSSI’s website and GSSI will prepare a benchmark report on the program.

While the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization standards GSSI will use in its benchmarking process are strict, WWF warned that the standards do not address the actual performance of a particular certification program, nor does GSSI.

“We hope that GSSI will continue to strive to provide clarity to its supporters by ensuring that claims of meeting GSSI components reflect meeting the CCRF and FAO Guidelines, not certification of sustainable seafood, that the assessment guidance is clear and applied consistently, and that assessments are completed accurately by independent experts,” said Richard Holland, director of WWF’s Market Transformation Initiative.

Further, WWF argued the benchmarking process does not take social issues into account when assessing sustainability, and that the GSSI process is too broad to accurately describe various certification programs.

“In order to ensure credible claims about certified sustainable seafood and to help drive improvements in weaker certification programs and, therefore, fisheries and farms, it’s important that we keep the bar reflective of scientifically based best practice,” Holland said.


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