The MSC continues to be recognised by UN FAO partner, the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI), whose updated Global Benchmark Tool provides an independent review of sustainability programmes.
The MSC was the first certification programme to be formally recognised by the GSSI, in 2017. Since that time, the Benchmark Tool has been revised through expert and public consultation.
The tool is underpinned by the United Nations’ FAO guidelines, providing assurance that the MSC Fisheries Standard meets the FAO:
• Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries
• Guidelines for Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine/Inland Capture Fisheries
• Technical Guidelines for Aquaculture Certification
Consumers and retailers can be assured by the GSSI recognition that seafood carrying the MSC blue label arrives on their plate at the end of a rigorous process. This includes independent audits and verifiable systems to ensure positive outcomes for the health of fish populations and the wider marine environment.
The GSSI says that the “The Global Benchmark Tool provides confidence in certified seafood and promotes improvement in seafood certification schemes by recognising those that are robust and credible. Using the Tool, GSSI aligns global efforts and resources to address the latest seafood sustainability challenges.”
The GSSI is a public-private partnership that works to “turn seafood into a driver for good to preserve oceans for future generations and drive forward more sustainable seafood.”
It says it has “worked in close partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and its member states since its inception to operationalise and champion internationally agreed guidelines and instruments in the seafood sector.”
The FAO Guidelines are at the heart of all GSSI programs, bringing sustainability to the forefront of the work being done in the seafood sector and to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).