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The Expert Consultation on the Development of International Guidelines for Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries was convened by FAO at the request of the twenty-fifth session of the Committee on Fisheries, Rome, 24-28 February 2003. Drawing upon various sources including relevant guides of the International Organization for Standardization, the expert consultation developed draft international guidelines encompassing principles, minimum substantive requirements, criteria and procedures for ecolabelling of fish and fishery products from marine capture fisheries. Minimum substantive requirements and criteria are set forth for assessing whether or not an ecolabel may be awarded to a fishery. Ecolabelling schemes may apply additional or more stringent requirements and criteria. Minimum substantive requirements are specified for each of three areas: management systems, target stocks and ecosystem considerations. For management systems, more specific criteria are also listed. The draft guidelines also address the three principal procedural and institutional matters that any ecolabelling scheme should encompass: (1) the setting of certification standards, (2) the accreditation of independent certifying bodies, and (3) the certification that a fishery and the product chain of custody are in conformity with the required standard and procedures.

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