This tool employs a few key terms in exploring progress toward sustainability:
- Certified and rated: The Marine Stewardship Council, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, and Fair Trade USA operate third-party certification programs for fished and farmed seafood. A certification validates that the product has been produced sustainably and complies with applicable social and chain of custody standards. Seafood Watch rates fished and farmed seafood in key markets to provide information on the full spectrum of low to high performance. Green-rated products are well-managed and caught or farmed responsibly. Yellow-rated products are good alternatives, but they are sourced from fisheries or farms that continue to have management or production concerns. Red-rated products are overfished, lack strong management, or are caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment. Sustainable Fisheries Partnership also rates seafood – its Seafood Metrics System enables seafood buyers to measure their progress in sustainable sourcing.
- Fishery improvement project (FIP) and aquaculture improvement project (AIP): A FIP brings industry, NGOs, governments, and other stakeholders together to assess the sustainability challenges facing wild capture fisheries, make an improvement plan, and implement that plan. FIPs may be comprehensive or basic. For more information, see the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions’ Guidelines for Supporting Fishery Improvement Projects. AIPs are a conceptually similar approach as FIPs but focused on improving sustainability in an aquaculture operation. For more information, see the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s AIPs introduction.
- High level of performance: We consider seafood certified or rated green by members of the Collaboration to demonstrate a high level of performance. There are two important dimensions to performance: social and environmental. Certifications by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council and Fair Trade USA demonstrate high levels of both social and environmental performance. Certifications by the Marine Stewardship Council and green ratings by Seafood Watch demonstrate a high level of environmental performance, but do not currently provide a comprehensive evaluation of social performance.
- Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing: IUU fishing is fishing that occurs in waters not under the jurisdiction of a management authority or that does not comply with applicable management policies. IUU fishing accounts for millions of tons of seafood and billions of dollars in trade every year. Itis a major threat to sustainability, because IUU fishing often employs gear and practices banned due to their environmental consequences, and sometimes involves forced labor and other human rights violations. For more information, see the FAO’s introduction.
- Social responsibility: The economic and social wellbeing of fishing and farming communities is tied to the success of their harvests. We use social responsibility to describe efforts to protect and promote the lives, livelihoods, rights, and health of those communities. For more information, see the Collaboration’s Framework for Social Responsibility in the Seafood Sector.
- Supply chain roundtable: Supply chain roundtables bring companies (processors, importers, and others) in a seafood sector together to promote improvements throughout their supply chains. Supply chain roundtables invest in and support FIPs and AIPs, monitor their progress, and hold them accountable. Supply chain roundtables also facilitate new improvement projects where needed. For more information, see the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s blog post.
Target 75 Initiative: Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s Target 75 Initiative aims to ensure that 75 percent or more of world seafood production in key sectors is either sustainable or is making regular, verifiable improvements by 2020. The initiative aims to mobilize improvements in as much of the world’s production as quickly as possible by working with industry partners. Existing partners need to continue with their current improvement work, while new partners need to come on board, especially where there may be key sustainability gaps in the seafood industry worldwide.