Friend of the Sea
|Registered non-profit NGO|
|Industry||Sustainable seafood ecolabel programme|
|Founded||2006 by Dr Paolo Bray|
Friend of the Sea is a project for the certification and promotion of seafood from sustainable fisheries and sustainable aquaculture. It is the only certification scheme which, with the same logo, certifies both wild and farmed seafood. Friend of the Sea started as a project of the Earth Island Institute, the NGO which operates the successful International Dolphin-Safe project. Some of the main world retailers participate, such as Carrefour Italy, Coop Italia, Eroski, Manor and Finiper. Some important producers also have their products certified.
Compliance and criteria
Friend of the Sea’s criteria compliance is verified by independent accredited certification bodies. Essential criteria for fisheries are:
- the product should not originate from overexploited (nor depleted, data deficient or recovering) stocks
- the fishing method should not impact the seabed
- the fishing method should be selective (below the world average for discards, which in 2005 was about 8%).
- the fishery should respect all legal requirements.
Article 30 of the FAO Guidelines for Ecolabelling of Marine Fisheries Products requires that:
The “stock under consideration” is not overfished, and is maintained at a level which promotes the objective of optimal utilization and maintains its availability for present and future generations, taking into account that longer term changes in productivity can occur due to natural variability and/or impacts other than fishing. In the event that biomass drops well below such target levels, management measures (Code of Conduct Article 7.6) should allow for restoration within reasonable time frames of the stocks to such levels.
The Friend of the Sea sustainable seafood certification scheme is currently compliant with this article.
Independent opinion and criticism
Friend of the Sea has been criticised for certifying the Taiwan-based F.C.F. Fishery, which has received fines "as a supplier of illegal, unregulated and unreported caught tuna" and has five vessels that were added to the Greenpeace International Blacklist. A FAO review stated that Friend of the Sea does not appear to be fully compliant with their guidelines.
- Friend of the Sea Sets Sustainable Standards The FishSite. Retrieved 20 Dec 2008.
- Friend of the Sea becomes Main Aquaculture Industry Standard for Sustainability in 2008 World Fishing Today.com. Retrieved 20 Dec 2008.
- Friend of the Sea becomes main aquaculture sustainability standard Aquahoy. Retrieved 20 Dec 2008.
- International Dolphin-Safe project
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. "Guidelines for the Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries (Revision 1)" (PDF). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. p. 19. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
- Campaign for Eco-Safe Tuna (February 9, 2015). "Friend of the Sea Certifies IUU-Caught Tuna?". Campaign for Eco-Safe Tuna. Campaign for Eco-Safe Tuna. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
- Sainsbury, Keith (3–5 March 2008). "Review of Guidelines for Ecolabelling of Fish and Products from Capture Fisheries, and Recommended Minimum Substantive Requirements". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. p. 16. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
The Friend of the Sea does not appear to be fully compliant with the FAO (2005a) guidelines in relation to the involvement of the standard setting organisation in both decisions about fisheries approvals and the conduct of the objections procedure.
- Friend of the Sea main website