An assortment of new seafood labels are being created and released in the coming months, with the intent of giving consumers more information about how and where their fish is farmed and caught.
The Marine Stewardship Council, a private non-governmental organization based in London, already certifies sustainably-caught seafood with an independent label. A similar organization, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), is working on an analogous set of standards for fish farms. ASC standards have been in the works since 2009, and shrimp, trout, salmon, cobia, and amberjack are the final items needing to be set.
A recent United Nations report found that aquaculture now accounts for about 46 percent of the world’s fish supply, making the ASC standards a timely addition to the labeling standards available to consumers.
Fair Trade International, a non-governmental organization that certifies and sets standards for coffee, tea, cocoa, and bananas, is in the process of adding shrimp to their list of certified, fairly traded goods. These labels help consumers identify goods that are priced to cover the average cost of sustainable production.
Government organizations like the California Ocean Protection Council are also working on seafood standards that would promote fish caught and landed in California ports. Fisheries in the state could voluntarily become certified under the protocol, but this labeling initiative is still in its infancy.
- New Seafood Labels: What Will They Tell You? (Slash Food)