Directly or indirectly, the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of million people around the world depend on fisheries and aquaculture for income and nutrition.

Growth in the global supply of fish for human consumption has outpaced population growth in the past five decades, increasing twice as fast as population growth on average.

Unsustainable fishing practices and overfishing threaten the health of our oceans and access to marine resources by future generations.

The Standard

Friend of the Sea criteria for sustainable fisheries require:

  • non-overexploited target stock according to FAO, Regional Fishery Bodies and National Fisheries Authorities;
  • no significant impact on the seabed;
  • selective fishing gear (max 8% discards);
  • no bycatch listed as ‘vulnerable’ or worse in the IUCN Redlist;
  • compliance with legal requirements (including TACs, no IUU, mesh size, minimum size, etc.);
  • waste and energy management;
  • social accountability.

Additional criterion for the certification of tuna from sustainable fisheries:

  • the use of non-entangling Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs)

FAD free

Beginning 2016 Friend of the Sea has introduced new criteria for the certification of tuna from sustainable fisheries, requiring the use of non-entangling Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs).

These floating objects are commonly used by tuna purse seine vessels and some commercial pole and line fleets. They are made of a series of old nets suspended and weighted down from a floating part.

Recent studies have shown that the old nets used on FADs are the main cause of sharks and turtles mortality. Even FADs which are not recovered and which drift away unused can prove lethal for these species, which end up entangled.

The new Friend of the Sea requirement for non-entangling FADs is expected to drastically reduce mortality rates of endangered sharks and turtles.
Friend of the Sea approved vessels will be obligated to use non-entangling nets and report on the use of FADs per vessel.

Technical Documents


Certified Fisheries and Fleets

The Friend of the Sea certification program contributes to the health of the oceans by certifying and promoting sustainable fishing practices.

More and more fisheries around the world are motivated to fish sustainably, in order to meet Friend of the Sea standards and achieve certification.

The following fisheries per given species are approved by Friend of the Sea. Products originating from these fisheries are certified

External Benchmarks

Certified seafood has seen highly significant growth over the last 5 years, in both certified wild catch and certified aquaculture, through a variety of different certification programs. A number of benchmark studies have been carried out to assess the validity and reliability of these certification programs.

According to the report “State of Sustainability Initiatives Review: Standards and the Blue Economy”, developed by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the International Institute for Environment and Development and the Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade: Friend of the Sea has become “the single largest source of certified wild catch on the global market”.


Would you like to receive a quotation for Friend of the Sea’s audit and royalties to use our logo?
Please fill out the online Preliminary Information Form (PIF):

  • All information will be kept strictly confidential and implies NO commitment on your company’s part.
  • Friend of the Sea's certification is voluntary and NOT mandatory to gain access to markets.
  • The application process is NOT discriminatory on size, scale, management, minimum number of operators and number of vessels involved. Nonetheless, enhanced fisheries and enhancement activities, regarding wild catches, cannot apply for certification.
  • Friend of the Sea is a NGO and it strives to make participation in the audits affordable for all companies.
  • Please contact us for more information on Government funding which might be available in your Country for sustainability certifications: