Sustainable Seafood Coalition Announces New Codes

A United Kingdom partnership of seafood businesses and
related organizations is the latest industry group to announce its own
voluntary labeling and sourcing code on environmental claims for seafood
entering the marketplace.
The Sustainable Seafood Coalition’s new sourcing code,
effective on Sept. 18, covers general good practice and a commitment to do a
risk assessment. It requires SSC members who agree to the code to adhere to
minimum criteria and only use claims of responsibility and sustainability,
thereby providing more clarity and consistency to their customers.
It calls for a commitment to traceability, a risk assessment
or audit conducted and annually reviewed, sourcing decisions based on the
outcome of the risk assessment or audit, engaging in or monitoring improvements
as required, and transparency in communications.
The program has many similarities to the sustainability
program established by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (
for wild harvests sourced from Alaska’s waters. Extensive information on that
program and participants in the seafood industry are available at the ASMI
The SSC is represented by a London-based environmental law
group ClientEarth (

In 2011, ClientEarth criticized seafood brands for making
misleading environmental claims on products such as canned tuna, haddock, cod
and farmed fish, and brought together the SSC with seven founding members to
address this issue.
The SSC said that Co-operative Food, Marks & Spencer,
Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Lyons Seafoods, New England Seafood
Limited, The Saucy Fish Co./Icelandic Group UK Ltd, Young’s Seafood Limited,
Direct Seafoods and M&J Seafood were committed to the new labeling code.
These firms, as well as Feng Sushi, Harbour Lights Falmouth,
River Cottage, Birds Eye UK, Lyons Seafoods, and Le Lien Ltd., also committed
to the sourcing code, SSC officials said.

In 18 months, ClientEarth is expected to publish a review of
members’ activities on implementation of the codes.