GSSI RECOGNIZES THE ICELAND RESPONSIBLE FISHERIES MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATION PROGRAMME
8 November 2016, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Today the GSSI Steering Board announced its recognition of the Iceland Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Certification Programme.
GSSI’s recognition shows that the IRFM Certification Programme, with Fisheries Management Standard Version 2.0 (1 July 2016), is in alignment with all Essential Components of the Global Benchmark Tool. The Tool is grounded in the FAO Guidelines for the Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries and consists of performance areas related to scheme governance, operational management (including chain of custody) and applied wild-capture fisheries audit standards.
The IRFM Certification Programme is the second seafood certification scheme to be benchmarked against GSSI’s Global Benchmark Tool and to achieve recognition in 2016.
“We commend the IRFM Certification Programme for successfully completing GSSI’s rigorous benchmark process,” states GSSI Steering Board co-chair Bill DiMento, VP Quality Assurance, Sustainability and Government Affairs, High Liner Foods. Co-chair Tania Taranovski, Director of Programs and Operations at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, New England Aquarium, adds “The recognition of the IRFM Certification Programme marks another vital step in increasing transparency and building confidence in certified seafood.”
“We are pleased to see a growing number of certification schemes showing how they align with the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries,” states Audun Lem, Deputy Director Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Economics Division, FAO. “We encourage other schemes to follow IRFM’s example and sign up to be benchmarked, which will bring more clarity to the certification landscape.”
“We are proud that the IRFM Certification Programme is recognized as meeting all the Essential Components of the GSSI Benchmark Tool,“ comments Dr. Hrefna Karlsdóttir, Manager at Iceland Responsible Fisheries Foundation. “The participation in the GSSI process has been a valuable journey for us and has given us the opportunity to look at our own certification program in a critical way. We expect that this tool, that honours internationally adopted principles and guidelines, will level the playing field and promote order in the market for seafood.”
19 retailers, brand manufacturers, traders and food service companies worldwide have already committed to including the outcomes of the GSSI Benchmark Process in their daily operations. “Ahold Delhaize is committed to accept all GSSI recognized schemes when sourcing certified seafood. We hope to see GSSI recognition becoming the norm for the sector when sourcing certified seafood.” states Hugo Byrnes, Vice President Product Integrity, Ahold Delhaize.
The Iceland Responsible Fisheries Management Certification Programme was officially launched in October 2008. The main purpose of the programme is to preserve the fisheries management principles adopted by the international community, to document well managed Icelandic fisheries to the highest level of assurance, to promote community consensus behind good discipline in fisheries management and to offer customers choice in certification. It is a robust, common sense, practical and cost-effective approach and allows Icelandic fisheries to meet the FAO criteria for credible certification.
GSSI is a global platform and partnership of seafood companies, NGOs, experts, governmental and intergovernmental organizations. The mission of GSSI is to ensure confidence in the supply and promotion of certified seafood as well as to promote improvement in seafood certification schemes.
GSSI’s Global Benchmark Tool, which is based on international reference documents from the FAO, identifies and recognizes robust and credible certification schemes and supports other schemes to improve. The Benchmark Process is open to all certification schemes. GSSI will recognize a scheme that has gone through the process and is aligned with all GSSI Essential Components.