Author Archives: chrispollard

fishing net

Final opportunity for Defra consultations

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The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is currently holding three public consultations on areas relevant to the seafood industry, and the process ends on Monday, 12 May. Two consultations relate to the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP); specifically, the implementation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), and the implementation of the landing obligation (discard ban). The third consultation focuses on the methods of implementing marketing standards and labelling requirements for fishery and aquaculture products.

CFP: Implementation of the pelagic landing obligation in England

This consultation seeks opinions on how this landing obligation, or discard ban, should now be implemented in English pelagic fisheries. The discard ban, which comes into force on 1 January 2015, means that all fish which are caught in a pelagic fishery cannot be returned to the sea – or ‘discarded’ – unless the fish is covered by a specific exemption. An example of an exemption would be capture of species for which fishing is prohibited, such as basking sharks and whale sharks.

CFP: The EMFF in the UK, 2014 – 2020

The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) is the new funding instrument for the fishery and aquaculture sectors in the EU. It lays down the conditions under which EU financial aid can be received from 2014 to 2020. Defra is seeking comments on the current aims of the fund; the types of project the fund will support; the allocation of funds between different projects; and the UK’s multiannual national plan for the development of sustainable aquaculture.

Implementing marketing standards and labelling requirements

Defra is seeking comments on proposed changes, under the Common Organisation of the Markets (CMO), as to how fish should be labelled, how consistent labelling will be enforced, and what the implications for infringement or mislabelling will be in England. Defra is also seeking comments on how to implement marketing standards in England and Wales.

How is this relevant to the SSC?

The subject matter of these Defra consultations is closely aligned to the vision of the SSC. We want all seafood sold in the UK to come from sustainable sources and we have ten aims to help us achieve this. The SSC’s voluntary codes of conduct on fish sourcing and labelling will ensure that consumers can purchase responsibly sourced and clearly labelled seafood products from SSC members. The SSC is the result of UK seafood businesses wanting to make voluntary changes in areas which, as yet, are not enforced by legislation.
Remember, Defra is not the only organisation looking for your feedback. Head to the SSC website and give us feedback on our sourcing code, labelling code and guidance document before Tuesday, 10 June.

Author: Sam Reynolds Photo credit: Brad Hinton
fishing boat on water

The Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative launches new website

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The Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) has launched a new website this week to provide stakeholders with up-to-date information on its progress.

The GSSI, formed in February 2013, aims to provide a consistent global benchmarking tool to provide transparency between labelling and seafood certification programmes. The GSSI benchmarking framework consists of different criteria and indicators based on the FAO guidelines ‘Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries’ and ‘Technical Guidelines for Aquaculture Certification

The benchmarking tool is being developed by three expert working groups that cover aquaculture, fisheries, and the procedural, institutional and evaluation processes of seafood certification. The GSSI has partners from different sectors including retailers, seafood processors, foodservice and NGOs. The draft benchmarking tool will be presented at the GSSI annual conference in spring 2014, and from April – May 2014 it will be released for public feedback.

This tool may be useful for members of the Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC) and other seafood businesses by enabling them to compare different certification programmes to help make sourcing decisions. The SSC is also helping to address seafood sustainability through voluntary codes of conduct. Through signing up to these codes on sourcing and labelling, SSC members commit to sourcing all their fish and seafood responsibly, and making clear, consistent and meaningful labels for consumers.


Author: Catherine Wright   Image: Nick Karvounis
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European Commission launches a new fish sustainability website

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On 27 January, Maria Damanaki, the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, will officially launch a new EU-wide campaign called Inseparable, and the new website is already live. The campaign aims to inform Europeans on how to buy, sell and eat sustainable seafood by providing information on making sustainable seafood choices. The website highlights a key message: that everyone has a role to play in sustainable seafood. It is an important part of many European diets, and it also provides employment opportunities.

For each of these three areas – buying, selling, and eating seafood – there are two key questions addressing why you should choose sustainable fish, and secondly, how to do so. The resources section of the website provides both general and country-level information on tools that can enable EU citizens to make more informed and responsible seafood choices. You will also find background information on the recent Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform and inspirational stories from people and organisations, including from Dr. Paul Connolly, President of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), and the Pisces Responsible Fish Restaurants scheme.

The Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC) is a unique group of seafood businesses with a vision  that all fish and seafood sold in the UK is from sustainable sources. We are currently developing two voluntary codes of conduct on responsible sourcing and labelling. Through these codes, members commit to sourcing all their fish and seafood responsibly, and making clear, consistent and meaningful labels for consumers. The SSC encourages consumers to diversify the fish they eat and make more sustainable choices.

Author: Catherine Wright   Image: Octavio Aburto-Oropeza/Marine Photobank
This blog was updated on 14/12/2016.