Three groups are involved in the FOS governance structure: the Board of Directors, the Advisory Board and the Technical Committee. 

A wide range of stakeholders is invited to participate in public consultations on our seafood standards and encouraged to provide their inputs at any time. Therefore, Friend of the Sea decision-making process and the process by which decisions are implemented are participatory, transparent and consensus-driven.

WSO’s Governance Structure for Friend of the Sea project and registered logo

WSO’s Board of Directors for Friend of the Sea project and registered logo

The Board of Directors is the top governing body. Taking into account the inputs received from the Technical Committee and Stakeholders, the Advisory Board advises the Board of Directors regarding strategies to reach the objectives of Friend of the Sea project. Actually, the Board of Directors is composed by two members: the Director and the President.

WSO’s Advisory Board for Friend of the Sea project and registered logo

The Advisory Board is our governing body and is composed of at least four members, who are approached and selected every two years by the Board of Directors.

The Advisory Board provides non-binding strategic advice to the Board of Directors. In particular, it provides strategic direction, guides the quality improvement and evaluates the effectiveness of the program. In addition, it elects the members of our Technical Committee and express opinions on received complaints, objections and inputs.

WSO’s Technical Committee for Friend of the Sea project and registered logo

The Technical Committee is our technical body and is composed of 14 to 21 members, who are elected every three years by the Advisory Board through CV analysis (received spontaneously or upon request). The Technical Committee has representatives from all continents and the following areas of activity: Seafood Industry, Distribution/Retail, Government, Certification Bodies, NGOs, Educational and Media.

Operating in total independence from Friend of the Sea, the Technical Committee has a key role in the development and revision of our seafood standards and collaborates by sending comments and voting on the content of our seafood standards.

WSO’s Governance procedure and policies for Friend of the Sea project and registered logo

WSO’s Board performance review for Friend of the Sea project and registered logo

WSO’s Funding and finances for Friend of the Sea project and registered logo

Stakeholders’ participation

1) Stakeholders can provide their input to our Standards.

We encourage all categories of stakeholders to share their inputs through the Stakeholder Input Form, at any time, on how standards are working and how to improve them. The full guidance is available in the Stakeholder Input Procedure.

A wide range of stakeholders is invited to participate in the public consultations on our Standards. If you are interested in being a part of the stakeholders notified at the beginning of our revision processes, please send an email to info@friendofthesea.org.

2) Stakeholders can provide their input to the audits by filling comments and/or objections.

Individuals, companies and organizations can send objections regarding companies to be audited by filling in the Objections Form, which may lead to certification failure. Friend of the Sea can accept only objections supported by evidence and received with at least 15 working days in advance of the planned audit. Once confirmed the acceptance, the auditor in charge must take the objection into account when visiting the company, including when making the certification decision. The full guidance is available in the Objections Procedure.

3) Stakeholders can register complaints regarding Friend of the Sea’s activities.

Stakeholders can complain at any time about Friend of the Sea’s governance, scheme management and executive functions by filling in the Complaints Form. Complaints about certified companies and accredited certification bodies, including their assessment and certification decisions in relation to the standards valid at the time of the audit, shall initially be addressed to the certification bodies following their respective complaints procedures. The full guidance is available in the Complaints Procedure . A list of Previous and Pending Complaints is available online.