A United Kingdom partnership of seafood businesses and related organizations is the latest industry group to announce its own voluntary labeling and sourcing code on environmental claims for seafood entering the marketplace.
The Sustainable Seafood Coalition’s new sourcing code, effective on Sept. 18, covers general good practice and a commitment to do a risk assessment. It requires SSC members who agree to the code to adhere to minimum criteria and only use claims of responsibility and sustainability, thereby providing more clarity and consistency to their customers.
It calls for a commitment to traceability, a risk assessment or audit conducted and annually reviewed, sourcing decisions based on the outcome of the risk assessment or audit, engaging in or monitoring improvements as required, and transparency in communications.
The program has many similarities to the sustainability program established by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (www.alaskaseafood.org) for wild harvests sourced from Alaska’s waters. Extensive information on that program and participants in the seafood industry are available at the ASMI website.
Details about the SSC code are online at http://sustainableseafoodcoalition.org/documents/ssc-sourcing-code-august-2014.pdf
The SSC is represented by a London-based environmental law group ClientEarth (http://www.clientearth.org/biodiversity/marine-protection/seafood-coalition
In 2011, ClientEarth criticized seafood brands for making misleading environmental claims on products such as canned tuna, haddock, cod and farmed fish, and brought together the SSC with seven founding members to address this issue.
The SSC said that Co-operative Food, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Lyons Seafoods, New England Seafood Limited, The Saucy Fish Co./Icelandic Group UK Ltd, Young’s Seafood Limited, Direct Seafoods and M&J Seafood were committed to the new labeling code.
These firms, as well as Feng Sushi, Harbour Lights Falmouth, River Cottage, Birds Eye UK, Lyons Seafoods, and Le Lien Ltd., also committed to the sourcing code, SSC officials said.
In 18 months, ClientEarth is expected to publish a review of members’ activities on implementation of the codes.