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Seafish Support for the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative

UK - Seafish has announced its support of the new Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI). Seafish is pledging its support through backing of 10,000, and collaborative working through shared knowledge and expertise.

Seafish will sponsor the GSSI Kick-Off workshop at the Sustainable Seafood Summit in Hong Kong 5 September. The event will outline plans for GSSI's development over the next three years, and will be chaired by Peter Hajipieris - a member of the Seafish Board.

The GSSI is being delivered through a consortium of international organisations with the common vision to bring objectivity and clarity on the complex issue of sustainability, and the prevailing standards and platforms that currently operate in addressing it. To do so GSSI will use similar principles that enabled the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and the Global Social Compliance Program (GSCP) to bring clarity and better harmonization in food safety and social compliance systems.

GSSI therefore aims to deliver a better understanding of the inter-operability of global seafood certification programmes, through benchmarking of existing sustainability certification and labelling initiatives against internationally accepted norms for these programmes.

Through a comprehensive, consistent, transparent and globally acceptable benchmark tool, the GSSI will facilitate the further development; harmonisation and mutual recognition of standards systems; drive convergence and reduce duplication and a cost reduction, and increase added-value leading to a bigger volume of sustainable seafood products becoming available for a larger group of buying companies and consumers.

It is hoped that by bringing together key stakeholders, including harvesters and producers, processors and manufacturers, retail and foodservice, NGOs and Academics it will be possible to build a shared, global and non-competitive approach to efficiently address sustainable development standards in the global seafood supply chain on a long term basis, thus becoming a key enabler towards safeguarding a sustainable future for the industry.

Dr Jon Harman, Operations Director of Seafish said: "Seafish is pleased to give its unequivocal support to the GSSI, an initiative that strives to unite global interests on sustainability, a pivotal challenge for the seafood industry. One of our central aims as an organisation is to support the UK seafood industry in addressing complex issues such as this, so we are pleased to add our financial backing and expertise to giving a greater clarity to industry members on the global picture of sustainability. We look forward to working with our project partners, and to taking major steps in establishing clear, achievable standards."

Peter Hajipieris, Seafish Board Director said: "One of my key commitments as a Seafish Board member is to encourage industry to operate efficiently and sustainably. The need for the GSSI to inform is right and so is the timing. There is universal agreement across the whole industry and stakeholder community that far too much confusion exists in the understanding and interoperability of seafood standards. This is making the industry less efficient and using up stakeholder resources at a time when we are all striving to supply safe, sustainable seafood that is affordable. I am pleased to be asked to chair the GSSI workshop and hope that the event will shed more light on the purpose of the GSSI and stimulate participants in an area that is giving all stakeholders many challenges".

Lucy Towers

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