Ecofish.com is an e-business selling ecologically responsible seafood directly to the consumer, from its distribution facilities in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Their mission is to make a positive impact on helping reverse the decline of marine biodiversity, by providing the consumer with seafood choices which [our] Seafood Advisory Board deems to originate from ecologically sound fisheries www.ecofish.com/mission.htm. Species currently for sale include Oregon Dungeness crab; Indonesian yellowfin tuna; Alaskan halibut; rope-cultured mussels from Prince Edward Island, Canada; South African spiny lobster; Alaska coho salmon; and Nebraska rainbow trout.
The National Audubon Society (www.audubon.org) has published The Audubon Guide to Seafood. The Audubon Society was founded in 1905 by John James Audubon, a famed ornithologist, explorer and wildlife artist and has about 550,000 members, predominately in the United States. Compiled by Carl Safina, Ph.D., director of the National Audubon Societys Living Oceans Program, the purpose of publication is to allow consumers to make informed choices. There is a colour spectrum ranging from red (most problematic) through yellow to green (least problematic). The species are evaluated based on their population status, management success, and bycatch and habitat concerns. This list also evaluates aquacultured species, such as Atlantic salmon regarding which it states that salmon farming pollutes, displaces wild fish, and prompts the shooting of predatory seals near farms.
Another non-governmental organization (NGO) Environmental Defense (www.environmentaldefense.org) has selected fifteen of the best and worst seafood choices. A national non-profit organization representing more than 300,000 members in the U.S., their mission is to protect the environmental rights of all people, including future generations. The lists of species to choose and avoid are longer than that of the Audubon Society.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium (www.mbayaq.org - Monterey, California) views its mission to inspire conservation of the oceans. When the Monterey Bay Aquarium buys seafood, they want to support sustainable fisheries - those managed so that there will be plenty of fish for the future, so that marine habitats stay healthy, and so theres little wasted catch of animals other than the target species. The list they have compiled focuses on level of fishing, and other information. The list is divided into those species to choose, those to avoid, and those with which to proceed with caution. This Seafood Watch Chart is also available in a wallet-sized pamphlet for consumers to take with them when they shop or eat at a restaurant.
The MSC is an independent, not for profit, international body headquartered in London, UK. Initiated by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Unilever, a large fish retailer, MSC aims to promote sustainable and responsible fisheries and fishing practices worldwide. The MSC has, in collaboration with a selected group of parties interested in and experienced with fisheries issues, established a broad set of Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fisheries. Fisheries meeting these standards will be eligible for third party certification by independent certifying bodies accredited by the MSC.
The Sea Turtle Restoration Project (www.seaturtles.org) has launched a Turtle Safe programme, Certified Turtle-Safe® Shrimp is a consumer-based tool for protecting endangered sea turtles. The Sea Turtle Restoration Project is dedicated to protect and restore populations of endangered sea turtles to healthy conditions. It was founded in 1989 as a project of Turtle Island Restoration Network, a non-profit environmental organization incorporated in California.
The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) is an international, non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing environmentally-responsible aquaculture. As its primary goal, GAA is working with producers, processors and major users to develop certifiable standards for responsible aquaculture.
SeaWeb (www.seaweb.org) is a multimedia public education project designed to raise awareness of the worlds oceans and the life within it. On January 20, 1998 SeaWeb and the National Resources Defense Council (www.nrdc.org) teamed up to begin the Give Swordfish a Break campaign, to help replenish depleted North Atlantic swordfish populations. This was the second large effort to mobilize consumers in support of fish conservation (dolphin-safe tuna being the first). Initially the campaign had the support of 27 prominent chefs. Over the course of the campaign, SeaWeb claims that over 700 chefs signed the Give Swordfish a Break pledge, while others -- the Peabody Hotel chain, cruise lines, grocery stores, airlines -- agreed to remove North Atlantic swordfish from their menus.
The Pacific Rivers Council (www.pacrivers.org) launched a Salmon-Safe programme in 1997. This programme works to restore water quality and salmon habitat in the agricultural watersheds of the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. The mission is to create a community of concerned farmers, retailers, and consumers, working together to recover imperilled salmon runs. Salmon-Safe does this by evaluating farm operations that are using conservation practices benefiting native salmon. Operations endorsed by their independent professional certifiers are promoted with the Salmon-Safe label.
Lembaga Ekolabel Indonesia (LEI) was officially founded in 1998 as an independent, non-profit institute in Indonesia. Since 1994, LEI ha worked together with the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, The Association of Indonesian Forest Concession Holders and with non-governmental organizations to develop a forest certification system. In Sept. 1999, the LEI and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC - www.fscoax.org) signed a Memorandum of Understanding that FSC-accredited certifiers working in Indonesia should be using Indonesias forest certification standard that has been developed by LEI.
Forest certification in Finland has been established under the Finnish Forest Certification System. At least 180,000 Finnish forest owners have already committed themselves to certification. The system includes requirements for forest management, wood chain of custody certification, and the carrying out of external auditing. The system is voluntary for forest owners and it requires an audit to be carried out by a third, impartial party.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international, non-profit organization founded in 1993 to support environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the worlds forests. The FSC has introduced an international labelling scheme for forest products, which provides a credible guarantee that the product comes from a well-managed forest. All forest products carrying their ecolabel have been independently certified as coming from forests that meet the internationally recognized FSC Principles and Criteria of Forest Stewardship. www.scs1.com/scs.shtml
SCS Marine Certifications (www.scs1.com) was established in 1984 as the U.S.s first third-party certified for testing pesticide residues in fresh produce. In the past 15 years, the company has evolved to become a certifier of multiple facets of the food industry, and of environmentally sound management of forests, marine habitats, and a wide variety of businesses. As the first MSC-accredited certifier of marine fisheries, SCS has issued certification of the Western Australian rock lobster fishery to the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council.
Canadas Environmental Choice Program (ECP) encourages the supply of products and services that are more environmentally responsible, and to help consumers and organizations buy green. Run by Environment Canada, the ecolabelling programme provides a market incentive to manufacturers and suppliers of environmentally preferable products and services, and thereby helps consumers identify products and services that are less harmful to the environment. Established in 1988, the ECP is one of 25 such programmes worldwide.
The Global Eco-labelling Network (GEN) is an international association of ecolabelling programmes, including the Environmental Choice Program above. It was founded in 1994 to improve, promote, and develop the ecolabelling of products and services. GEN provides information and technical assistance to developing countries.
The Nordic Swan label is the official ecolabel in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. The label is a neutral, independent label that guarantees a certain environmental standard. Only products that satisfy strict environmental requirements on the basis of objective assessments are allowed to display the environmental product label. Each of the participating countries has a national body to administer the label. Each body has a board with representatives from the government, workers unions, industry, trade, environmental and consumers organizations. A total of more than 3,000 products carry the label. The primary products are household chemicals, paper products, office machinery, and building materials.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from 130 countries. It is a non-governmental organization founded in 1947 and its mission is to promote the development of standardisation and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity.
TransFair USA is a non-profit monitoring organization that certified that participating traders are following fair trade guidelines. It works with producer co-operatives that use democratic principles to ensure working conditions are safe and dignified, and that producers have a say in how their products are created and sold. Products covered currently are coffee and tea.
The Consumers Council, in the U.S., has on its web page a handy list of organizations involved in ecolabelling for food and agricultural products, and forest and wood products. It also lists ecolabel certifiers of food, agricultural, forest and wood products.
europa.eu.int/eco-label/ see also www.ecosite.co.uk/Eco-label-UK/scheme.html
The European Union ecolabelling programme does not include food products. Criteria for a product group are developed by the application of a life cycle assessment to gauge the impact on the environment at every stage of the products life cycle, from raw materials, through the manufacturing process, distribution and consumer use, to its final disposal.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is an international
environmental organization claiming membership of 4.7 million people in over 100
countries. It is involved in several labelling efforts, including: certified
timber production with the Forest Stewardship Council; certified fishery
products with the Marine Stewardship Council; and environmentally-friendly
potato labelling with the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers