NFI Updates Industry on Better Seafood Bureau


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
February 23, 2008

Economic integrity is nothing more than complying with the law, National Fisheries Institute President John Connelly said yesterday at the International Boston Seafood Show.

Still, the seafood industry has a long way to go to effectively police myriad forms of fraud.

"There is a problem in the industry, throughout the industry, and we're trying to do something about it," Connelly said during an update on the Better Seafood Bureau, an independent organization that NFI established last year to shine a positive light on industry members practicing fair trade.

"There are very few virgins in our industry. We need to create our own solutions, as an industry, rather than have the government dictate one to us," Connelly said, stressing that fraudulent practices are not solely the work of importers.

Glazing, or adding water to a product, species substitution and transshipping to avoid tariffs are the most common forms of fraud, Connelly said, and comprise the majority of claims the BSB expects to arbitrate. Connelly shared several letters forwarded to him in which suppliers offer deals on seafood that is only 65 percent to 70 percent net weight.

Last March, when annual dues were collected, NFI required its 240-plus member companies to sign an economic integrity pledge. Connelly said the pledge is a CEO-level commitment. Companies that fail to live up to their pledge will have their membership revoked.

The idea behind the BSB, Connelly said, is "to reward the good actors, and identify the bad actors, a sort of public execution for those who fail. But we're giving folks lots of chances to not fail."

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