Friend of the Sea is “the single largest source of certified wild catch on the global market” according to the UN-founded ‘State of Sustainability Initiatives’
“The State of Sustainability Initiatives Review: Standards and the Blue Economy”, a study founded by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, has recently highlighted Friend of the Sea’s fast growth, based on a strict approach, open to small scale producers and developing countries.
According to the SSI, “FOS has grown five times as fast as MSC over the last seven years.” “FOS is accounting for 6.2 per cent and the MSC accounting for 5.7 per cent of total seafood production”. The SSI concludes that currently FOS is “the single largest source of certified wild catch on the global market.”
The report underlines how “the majority of MSC-certified production being sourced from developed countries and the majority of FOS-certified production being sourced from developing countries.” FOS fair and balanced approach is reflected in its governance: FOS advisory board is equally composed by representatives of developing and developed countries, men and women. Representatives of NGOs and civil society are the only decision makers in FOS, guaranteeing independence and neutrality to consumers and companies.
FOS certified aquaculture volumes are three times as large as organic certification volumes worldwide and are higher than BAP and ASC. Together with its partner GGAP, FOS covers over 60% of total worldwide certified aquaculture. FOS aquaculture certification has a growth trend of over 40% per year.
FOS scores higher than other major wild catch certification programs in terms of environmental (+25%), economic (+100%) and social (+400%) indexes. FOS has also a stricter Chain of custody model, including mass balance and book and claim.
The SSI report concludes that “as the only non-organic global standard certifying both wild catch and aquaculture, FOS has a unique opportunity to oversee sector transformation by managing the distribution of supply between wild catch and aquaculture. Moreover, it also has the potential to develop its own internal market, supplying certified wild catch product to certified aquaculture production in the form of fish meal.”
The State of Sustainability Initiatives
The State of Sustainability Initiatives (SSI) project was founded by the UNCTAD/IISD Sustainable Commodity Initiative and implemented by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST). The main objective of the SSI is to offer an international baseline for understanding performance characteristics, issues and market trends for several sustainability initiatives and standards operating in global markets.
Friend of the Sea
Friend of the Sea is an international certification program for products from sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. Over 500 companies in more than 50 countries have relied on Friend of the Sea to assess the sustainability of their seafood origins. Audits, based on best and most updated available scientific data, are run by accredited independent certification bodies.