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Annex 5. Schemes promoted by NGOs


The Marine Aquarium Council (MAC) is an international non-profit organization. It was set up by a multistakeholder group. The group was a type of initiative or coalition of conservation groups, industry personnel and public aquariums that were interested in developing standards and certification for marine ornamental fishery and trade. The WWF was one of the NGOs involved in the development process and it was used to promote the sustainable development of the aquarium industry.61 The MAC includes a network of over 2 500 partners from conservation groups, the aquarium industry, hobbyists and governments. The MAC established a certification scheme to ensure the sustainability of capture, culture and trade of marine ornamentals.

The development of MAC Core Standards was initiated in 1999 and, through a process of multistakeholder consultations, led to the publishing of the standards in 2001. A Standard Committee has also been established to coordinate the revision of the standards as needed. The MAC is also a partner of the ISEAL, therefore it witnesses the quality of the standard development process followed by the MAC.

There are four MAC core standards which cover the whole supply chain for ornamentals. These are:

Conformity assessment is conducted by independent CBs that have been accredited under the supervision of the MAC Accreditation Committee and in compliance with ISO Guide 60 standards (Conformity assessment/Code of Good Practice). At present, there are six accredited CBs listed on the MAC Web site.

According to the MAC Web site, currently MAC has certified:


The International Standards Organization (ISO) is an NGO constituted by a network of the national standards institutes of 157 countries, with one member per country. Although its structure may resemble that of an intergovernmental organization, ISO members are not delegates of their countries, although its structure has made the ISO arguably the most authoritative organization for standardization.

The ISO's operation relies on many committees and bodies. Its strategic direction is decided by the General Assembly which is composed of ISO members and operates with a "one-member one-vote" mechanism. Only national standardization institutions can become ISO members. However, although individuals or enterprises are not eligible for membership, they can contribute to ISO activities and to the development of standards. The ISO Council (acting like a board of directors within a company) is responsible for submitting proposals to the General Assembly. Overall ISO operations are managed by a secretary-general based in the ISO Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.

The development of standards generally is initiated by the industry itself, which raises the need for a standard to be proposed by an ISO member, who then submits the proposal for discussion and, if necessary, leads to the initiation of the standard development process. The task is assigned to an existing technical committee although new committees can be established if the need should arise (e.g. new sectors, etc.). At present there are about 200 technical committees in operation including committees on food products, environmental management, water quality, soil quality and market, opinions and social research. The work of the technical committees is assisted by working groups and sub-committees; for example within the Food Products Technical Committee there are about 20 such entities. Technical committees, and even more so their working groups and sub-committees, are highly specialized and receive strategic guidance from three general policy development committees: CASCO (conformity assessment), COPOLCO (consumer policy) and DEVCO (developing country matters). These committees allow the technical committees to develop standards that are aligned with the broader market and stakeholder needs. Technical committees are generally comprised by sector experts, often the experts that raised the need for the standards and who were selected by ISO members in their countries, and may also include government officials, environmentalists, consumer associations, academics etc. Draft standards developed by the technical committees are submitted as drafts to other ISO members for review. ISO members can disseminate the draft standards widely within their countries to elicit the views of a wide range of stakeholders. Following additional discussion among ISO members the standard is then finalized and published. The ISO also invites members of the public to submit comments on the work of the technical committees through its Web site, which, inter alia, reports the work plans of the committees for public review.

Interestingly, the ISO is not directly involved in the process of assessing conformity to ISO standards. This means that any individual or institution can inspect and certify establishments and products for conformity to ISO standards, without necessarily having been accredited by any authoritative body to perform this task (although conformity assessment for ISO standards does not authorize certified businesses to use the ISO logo). Nevertheless, the ISO has developed a wide range of standards for performing different steps in conformity assessment. Some of the most relevant standards are:

            ISO/IEC Guide 7:1994

Guidelines for drafting of standards suitable for use for conformity assessment

            ISO/IEC Guide 23:1982

Methods of indicating conformity with standards for third party certification systems

            ISO/IEC Guide 28:2004

Conformity assessment: Guidance on a third party certification system for products

            ISO/IEC Guide 59:1994

Code of good practice for standardization

            ISO/IEC Guide 60:2004

Conformity assessment: Code of good practice

            ISO/IEC Guide 62:1996

General requirements for bodies operating assessment and certification/ registration of quality systems

            ISO/IEC Guide 65:1996

General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems

            ISO/IEC Guide 66:1999

General requirements for assessment and accreditation of certification/ registration bodies of environmental management systems (EMS).

            ISO/IEC Guide 67:2004

Conformity assessment: Fundamentals of product certification

            ISO/IEC Guide 68:2002

Arrangements for the recognition and acceptance of conformity assessment results

            ISO/IEC 17000:2004

Conformity assessment: Vocabulary and general principles

            ISO/PAS 17001:2005

Conformity assessment: Impartiality — principles and requirements

            ISO/PAS 17002:2004

Conformity assessment: Confidentiality — principles and requirements

            ISO/PAS 17003:2004

Conformity assessment: Complaints and appeals — principles and requirements

            ISO/PAS 17004:2005

Conformity assessment: Disclosure of information — principles and requirements

            ISO/IEC 17011:2004

Conformity assessment: General requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies

            ISO/IEC 17020:1998

General criteria for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection

            ISO/IEC 17021:2006

Conformity assessment: Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems

            ISO/IEC 17024:2003

Conformity assessment: General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons

            ISO/IEC 17025:2005

General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories

            ISO/IEC 17030:2003

Conformity assessment: General requirements for third party marks of conformity

            ISO/IEC 17040:2005

Conformity assessment: General requirements for peer assessment of conformity assessment bodies and accreditation bodies

To assist the conformity assessment process, the ISO also provides a directory of accreditation and CBs worldwide, specifically for the most common ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards.

From 1947 to date the ISO has published more than 16 000 standards covering a wide range of sectors, including the food industry. Most ISO standards are highly specific to the production of particular products. However, the ISO has also produced generic standards such as ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 families of standards (mainly ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004), which are standards to be applied by organizations to improve the quality and environmental management of the processes adopted respectively and, as such, they are also applicable to the aquaculture sector. The recently issued ISO 22000:2005 standard, concerning the management of food safety issues, is relevant to any organization involved in any aspect of the food chain and, as such, it too concerns the aquaculture sector.

In addition to the aforementioned standards, the ISO has also initiated activities towards the development of standards for social responsibility. Discussion on the development of standards for social responsibility was initiated in 2004 and it is still ongoing. To this end, an ISO Working Group on Social Responsibility was established with the target of drafting these standards, which are expected to be published in 2008 as ISO 26000. At the request of the Norwegian ISO Representative, in February 2007 the ISO also decided to establish a technical committee (ISO/TC 234) to develop standards for fisheries and aquaculture. The ISO standards are expected to cover several aspects of aquaculture sustainability including environmental protection, animal health and welfare, employee welfare and traceability. National fisheries and aquaculture standards developed by Norway will be suggested as a draft for the development of the ISO standards. The ISO standards will be developed to be complementary with the work conducted by other organizations such as the Codex Alimentarius, FAO, WHO, OIE and others.63

Because of the approach adopted by the ISO towards conformity assessment to ISO standards, it is not possible to know how many ISO-compliant aquaculture businesses there are globally. The ISO conducts regular surveys to assess the status of implementation of its ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 standards. ISO surveys indicate that the number of businesses certified for standards within the ISO 9000 family in the "agriculture and fishing" category increased from 610 in 1998 to 2 381 in 2002 globally. The number of ISO 14001 certified "agriculture and fishing" businesses followed a similar trend, rising from 16 in 1998 to 532 in 2002.64 Although the ISO surveys most likely underestimate the number of certified businesses, the aforesaid data would seem to indicate that ISO certification of agriculture and fishing businesses globally is still limited.

61 WWF. 2007. The Marine Aquarium Council.
62 Ron Lilley, Marine Aquarium Council, personal communication.
63 Standards Norway. 2007. Fisheries and aquaculture — new field of standardisation in ISO.
64 ISO. 2002. The ISO survey of ISO 9000 and ISO 14001 certificates.

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