Seafood ecolabels are inadequate says WWF

Certification schemes and ecolabels for fish and seafood are widely inadequate according to a new report by the WWF.

Marine Stewardship Council

The report by Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP), Accenture’s non-profit practice, ranked seven fishery certification schemes that use ecolabels on fish and seafood products against a set of WWF criteria evaluating each scheme’s effectiveness in addressing the health of fisheries and oceans.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has come out on top of the table with 95% compliance, but the WWF warns the scheme is still not perfect and improvements are needed across the board.

The report also rates the Naturland, Friend of the Sea, Krav, AIDCP, Mel-Japan and Southern Rocklobster schemes but found they “have substantial shortcomings in the area of transparency and information provision” and do not “evaluate fisheries across all criteria to the extent required to support sustainable fishing and healthy oceans.”

The WWF is calling for the seafood sector to develop an internationally agreed ecolabelling scheme to minimise the confusion and lack of confidence in existing ecolabelling systems.

Miguel Jorge, Director of WWF International’s Marine Programme, says: “The growth of seafood ecolabels over the last ten years attests to the strong demand from consumers and seafood companies who want seafood from better fisheries.” added Jorge.

“But with the proliferation of ecolabels and the variability of these schemes there is a real risk of confusion, or worse still a lack of confidence in seafood ecolabelling among buyers and consumers.”

Marks & Spencer has become the first UK company to sign the WWF’s Seafood Charter, helping to promote responsible fishing. The retailer has taken out full page newspaper ads to raise consumer awareness of the issue.

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