A sustainable fisheries coalition based in the United Kingdom has recognized Alaska’s Responsible Fisheries Management certification program for alignment with the performance standards held by the coalition.
The Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative Steering Board made the announcement this past week during the 32nd session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Committee on Fisheries meeting in Rome.
Alaska RFM is the first certification scheme to be benchmarked against GSSI’s Global Benchmark Tool and to achieve recognition demonstrating alignment. This recognition came after a seven-month rigorous benchmark process, including a 30-day public consultation, before approval by the GSSI Steering Board.
Audun Lem, deputy director of fisheries and aquaculture policy and economics division of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, noted that the GSSI’s Global Benchmark Tool is grounded in the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and related instruments.
“The recognition of robust certification programs by GSSI will improve transparency in seafood certification and increase confidence in the seafood market, objectives FAO fully supports,” he said.
Susan Marks, sustainability director for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, said that with more than 40 entities worldwide supporting GSSI, including retailers and the seafood industry, ASMI is pleased to have its RFM recognized for meeting the GSSI Benchmark Tool components.
“Seafood buyers want to make informed choices and GSSI provides a tool for them to identify credible certification programs,” Marks said. “We look forward to seeing how this will help resolve some of the challenges faced by those in the seafood industry,” she said.
The RFM program was developed by ASMI in 2010 to offer seafood buyers and sellers a credible, cost-effective choice in seafood certification. The voluntary, internationally accredited, third party certification RFM program was based on existing and widely accepted fisheries management models and guidance documents of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.