GSSI Press Release

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14  March 2017, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Today the GSSI Steering Board announced its recognition of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

GSSI’s recognition shows that the Marine Stewardship Council, with Fisheries Standard Version 2.0 (Issued 1 October 2014), 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 Marine Stewardship Council is the third seafood certification scheme to be benchmarked against GSSI’s Global Benchmark Tool and to achieve recognition.

“We congratulate the Marine Stewardship Council for the successful completion of GSSI’s rigorous benchmark process,” says GSSI Steering Board Co-chair Tania Taranovski, Director, Programs and Operations, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium. Co-chair Bill DiMento, VP Quality Assurance, Sustainability and Government Affairs, High Liner Foods, adds “MSC’s recognition is a powerful signal to market actors who seek transparency and represents considerable progress towards our common objective of a level playing field in seafood certification.”

“MSC’s successful completion of the GSSI Benchmark Process highlights the importance of adhering to internationally agreed instruments such as the FAO Ecolabelling Guidelines.”, states Audun Lem, Deputy Director Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Economics Division, FAO. “The GSSI process has demonstrated the merit of various types of certification schemes and we encourage others to follow MSC’s example.”

“The MSC is the first global certification program to achieve GSSI recognition. This process reaffirms our commitment to maintain world-leading science-based standards which are widely applicable and help to drive real change on the water. Anyone committing to purchase MSC certified seafood can be confident that it reflects global best practice in fisheries management,” says Dr David Agnew, Director of Science and Standards at the MSC.

Over 20 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. “Metro Group is a founding partner of GSSI and committed to accept all recognized schemes when sourcing certified seafood. We already made GSSI recognition a cornerstone of our 2020 sustainable sourcing goals and are confident to see it becoming the sector’s norm for certification.” states Andrea Weber, Director Corporate Responsibility Metro Cash & Carry, Metro Group.

View the GSSI Benchmark Report for MSC
The MSC is an international non-profit organization established to address the problem of unsustainable fishing and safeguard seafood supplies for the future.

The MSC sets internationally recognized standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability. These standards are consistent with UN FAO Guidelines and bring together more than 15 years of collaboration with scientists, the fishing industry and conservation groups to reflect international best practice.MSC certified seafood can be sold with the blue MSC label, enabling organizations and consumers to recognize, reward and incentivize sustainable fishing. 
MSC certified fisheries catch around 10 million metric tons of seafood, representing close to 10% of the global wild catch, per year. More than 24,000 seafood products worldwide carry the blue MSC label.

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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.
For more information on GSSI Benchmarking, contact  or visit

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Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative · P.O. Box 642 · Haarlem, 2003 RP · Netherlands

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