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First Ever Social Responsibility in Fisheries Assessment Tool in Development

2 February 2016, at 12:00am

GLOBAL - The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch programme, Sustainable Fisheries Partnerships (SFP) and Seafish, the authority on seafood in the UK, are partnering to scope out the development of a risk assessment tool for social responsibility in fisheries, a first of its kind.

The announcement was made at the Seaweb Seafood Summit in Malta during a workshop hosted by Seafish on Social Responsibility in Seafood.

Using information found in the public domain about various social issues in fisheries around the world, it will analyse the results and generate scores in low, medium and high categories of risk.

The methodology will focus only on the “at sea” part of the seafood supply chain, and addressing wild-caught seafood only. The organisations are working together to ensure the methodology is globally relevant and designed to present results for fisheries worldwide. To validate the methodology, it will be piloted with fisheries representative of the global market.

The partnership was born out of a requirement to design a tool that allows for straightforward integration into Seafood Watch, SFP’s Fishonline and Seafish’s Risk Assessment for Sourcing Seafood (RASS). In addition, to maximise its use, the tool will have a dedicated website to allow other programmes to make use of the results.

Tom Pickerell, Technical Director at Seafish, said: "Seafood buyers need to know that the seafood they are sourcing is both environmentally and socially responsible and the information needs to be easily available for them to make informed decisions. Following research we did last year in to social issues in a selection of key regions supplying seafood to the UK market, we wanted to find a way to include that information in RASS. It made sense to partner with SFP and Seafood Watch to pool our resources and expertise rather than cause confusion by creating different tools which essentially do the same thing.

"The tool will be simple, transparent and robust to give buyers the assurances they need about how that seafood has been caught."

Braddock Spear, SFP's Systems Division Director said: “With reports of forced labor appearing more frequently in the fishing industries in some parts of the world, social responsibility is becoming more and more of a critical issue when assessing sustainable fishing practices. SFP is thrilled to be involved with the development of such an important tool.”

The project is joint-funded by Monterey Bay Aquarium, SFP and Seafish and will be delivered by Katrina Nakamura from the Sustainability Incubator and Lori Bishop, a global expert on human rights in business.

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