« November 2008 Table of Contents
Point of View: Jose Villalon
Managing director, global aquaculture, World Wildlife Fund U.S., Washington, D.C.
November 01, 2008
What is needed is a single, credible aquaculture
certification program that offers one-stop-shopping to
producers and won't confuse consumers.
"Sustainability" is more than just a buzzword in the seafood
industry. There is action behind the word, including the
creation of programs to certify seafood that is produced
The best program will be one that offers one-stop-shopping
to producers. This type of program would let producers become
certified by one entity for seafood that is sustainable from a
food-safety, traceability, social and environmental standpoint.
They would benefit from a smaller investment in time and money
to become certified. It's also a win for commercial buyers and
consumers, who would have a clear choice when looking for
sustainable products instead of a confusing array of options.
That's something we all can rally behind. It is crucial that
the standards behind the program are credible, rigorous and
robust. Without that, the certification system will fail. This
has huge implications for aquaculture, which supplies half the
fish the world eats. The standards must be developed using a
model that soars past guidelines set by the International
Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labeling Alliance
and proposed by the Fisheries and Agriculture Organization.
The best model for developing a single set of environmental
and social aquaculture standards is the Aquaculture Dialogues -
a process that has the support of more than 1,500 seafood
industry stakeholders, including representatives from more than
90 non-governmental organizations and the 14 organizations that
developed the Common Vision for Environmentally Sustainable
Seafood. Once these standards are completed, they should be
combined with the rigorous food safety and traceability
standards already available in the marketplace to create a
one-stop-shop certification system that meets the needs of
producers and consumers.