Monthly Archives: July 2013

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Labelling code feedback success

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Last month, the six week public feedback period for our voluntary code of conduct on fish and seafood product labelling closed and we are pleased to report that valuable input was received from multiple interested parties.

We sought your opinions to find weaknesses, to identify strengths and to ultimately create a code of the highest quality. Comments were received about the transparency, clarity and presentation of the code and we are currently working hard to examine all suggestions received.

Once all of the feedback has been discussed, the code amended as appropriate and changes agreed upon by all members, we will launch both this code of conduct and an accompanying industry guidance document.  With the help of the SSC secretariat, members will then develop tailored implementation plans and begin adopting the code into their businesses.

Blazing a new trail in the seafood industry, we have passed a major milestone towards the creation of the first SSC code of conduct. We are excited that very soon consumers will be able to rely on clear, consistent and dependable ‘sustainable’ and ‘responsible’ seafood claims made by members of the SSC.

Article: Kendyl Crawford. Image: Hiking Artist
This blog was updated on 14/12/2016.
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Seafish create a new online resource for seafood standards

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Successfully finding your way through the maze of products sold at the grocery store today is no small feat; at the largest supermarkets, you will find around 40,000 different products vying for your attention. Not only do you have to absorb all the products on offer, but you also must constantly consider the pulls of health, price, convenience, taste and environmental impact, meaning purchasing can be a complex and sometimes exhausting experience.

Seafish, a body created by an Act of Parliament that works to encourage sustainable seafood and to support the seafood industry, has created a new online resource. ‘A Guide to Seafood Standards’ allows both consumers and businesses to easily access, search and compare fish and shellfish certification standards all in one place.

In an effort to improve responsible seafood sourcing and to provide guidance to consumers, many in the seafood industry use a standard or certification to verify their seafood sourcing. There are numerous standards available, each being unique in its covering of different sectors, consideration of issues and compliance to guidelines and accreditation schemes. Seafish’s resource will help many businesses to help decipher seafood standards. The interactive guide enables you to filter certification schemes to see right away what standards address specific issues, such as animal or social welfare, or food safety. In addition, the comparison function empowers you to compare different schemes, to differentiate between them and to pick those most aligned with your policies.

So now, whether you’re a consumer at the supermarket or a chef responsible for procuring seafood, you can feel confident when you see seafood standard logos and can impress your friends, family or co-workers with your intimate knowledge of seafood standards and certifications! The SSC is currently tackling the issue of how to make seafood labelling clearer with our Code of Conduct on Environmental Labelling and Self-Declared Environmental Claims.

Article by Kendyl Crawford. Image: Noodlepie

British consumers are willing to pay more for line caught fish

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New research has emerged finding that British shoppers are willing to pay an extra 22% for frozen cod and haddock that is labelled ‘line-caught’! Since 2010, Nofima, a food research institute, has been monitoring the weekly prices of 91 frozen cod, haddock and Alaska Pollock products in seven British supermarkets and through their price analysis they have been able to isolate and evaluate the different attributes displayed on the product packaging. The willingness of the consumer to pay more has been pegged to the better quality associated with ‘line-caught’ fish as well as the perception of being more sustainable and having a smaller environmental impact.

At the Sustainable Seafood Coalition we are greatly encouraged by the voluntary environmental labelling of the retailers and by the apparent interest of British in sustainable seafood products. However, we want to make certain that consumers are not misled and all labelling is harmonised, particularly since research such as this Nofima study shows that consumers are willing to pay more for products depending on how they are labelled.

The term ‘line-caught’ could refer to different fishing methods each of which varies in degree of environmental impact. For example, the fishing technique of long-lining consists of putting out a line that can be as long as 100km attached to which are shorter lines with hooks. In some fisheries, the baited hooks can indiscriminately catch seabirds, turtles, sharks as well as immature individuals of the targeted fish, yet in other fisheries long lines can be the most sustainable method. Conversely, pole and line fishing (often used for tuna fishing) is a hooked line attached to a pole and uses various methods to attract the fish, including throwing bait and/or spraying water (giving the illusion that the water surface is alive with small fish) to attract the targeted fish species. Pole and line fishing can be more selective (catching less bycatch) than the long-line method. Additionally, the survival of fish released after being accidentally caught by pole and line can be higher due to the use of barbless hooks shortening the amount of time a fish is hooked. So, fish caught by pole and line fishing or long-line fishing may both be labelled as ‘line caught’ but given the differences of the gears and potential impacts on other marine species and the environment, it may not be helpful to use such an ambiguous term.

The SSC is striving to make all seafood labelling precise, understandable and usable for the consumer. We are working hard to harmonize voluntary environmental labelling industry-wide to achieve higher standards of clarity and transparency, including improving and harmonising voluntary labelling of fishing methods (such as ‘line caught’). We are focusing on this issue directly with our work on our highly anticipated Code of Conduct on Environmental Labelling and Self-Declared Environmental Claims.

Image: Wikimedia
This blog was updated on 14/12/2016.