Tag Archives: fish

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
fish swimming

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.
child in playground

Aquaculture Shifting towards Future Sustainability

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Several encouraging events have taken place recently to address environmental problems connected with aquaculture – otherwise known as fish farming. These advancements are increasing the aquaculture industry’s capacity to endure for future generations. Environmental problems often linked to aquaculture have been identified as pollution, animal welfare, alien introductions, escapees, sites in vulnerable habitats and fish feed requirements. Breaking the dependence of aquaculture feed on small, wild fish such as menhaden, anchovies and sardines taken from our oceans, recent advancements have resulted in the production of what could be more sustainable fish feeds.

For example, US researchers have developed a completely vegetarian fish feed. This feed is a blend of plant-based proteins, amino acids and fatty acids and has been shown to be effective for feeding cobia and gilt-head bream, two carnivorous fish that usually consume smaller fish, crabs and squid. Due to the vegetarian feed, the fish grew larger and also had much lower levels of mercury and PSCBs than fish on the normal fish oil diet.

Australian researchers have also developed a feed called Novacq for prawns that contains no fish products- unusual for prawn food. Novacq is formulated entirely from marine microbes. A study with this new innovative feed resulted in prawns that were both healthier and grew faster than prawns fed with pellets derived from fishmeal and fish oil. This is a milestone achievement in the journey towards sustainability.

In addition to the advancement of science, the industry is also coming together to take steps towards sustainability. For instance, the top 15 global industry leaders in salmon farming have recently formed a group to address aquaculture’s environmental impacts. This group in all represents around 70% of world’s aquaculture production. The Global Salmon Initiative are sharing and collaborating to move towards sustainability in aquaculture; they estimate that by 2050 sustainable salmon aquaculture could produce 500 million meals a day.

At the 4th Asian Fish Feed Roundtable held last month, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) presented their Responsible Feed project to the group and explained how this new standard will work to move the industry towards more sustainable practices. The Responsible Feed Standard will put in place requirements for the aquaculture feed industry to function more responsibly both socially and environmentally.  It will be ready by the end of 2015 allowing responsible producers to be recognized for their efforts. Already large businesses such as Asda Walmart, Marks & Spencers, Lyons, Morrisons, Sainsbury, Thai Union, Seachill Icelandic, Coop and Aldi are supporting this project.

According to the FAO’s 2012 State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture report, in 2010 world aquaculture reached an all-time high. This burgeoning food industry produced around 60 million tonnes of product, excluding plants and non-food, that year with an estimated value of US$119 billion.

It is promising that many organizations and businesses are recognizing the importance of responsible aquaculture feed and that science has advanced more sustainable feed options.

Find out how the SSC are working on responsible aquaculture through the code of conduct for responsible seafood sourcing.

Article by Kendyl Crawford. Photo by Echoforsberg
This blog was updated on 14/12/2016.