Open Standards

Posted in Standards, Programs

Open Standards

The seafood industry has many standards and at the heart of all we do is the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) ‘Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries’ first adopted back in 1995. We strongly believe that our industry should use this as an important core to all we do.

An open standard is ‘a standard that is publicly available and has various rights to use associated with it, and may also have various properties of how it was designed (e.g. open process). There is no single definition and an interpretation as it varies with usage.’ (

This voluntary code is aimed at everyone working in and involved with  fisheries and aquaculture, whether they are located in inland areas or in the oceans. The FAO states that because the Code is voluntary, it's necessary to ensure that all people working in fisheries and aquaculture commit themselves to its principles and goals and take practical measures to implement them. The Code of Conduct which consists of a collection of principles, goals and elements for action took more than two years to elaborate. Representatives from members of FAO, inter-governmental organizations, the fishing industry, and non-governmental organizations worked tirelessly to reach agreement on the Code. It is therefore a result of much effort by many different groups involved in fisheries and aquaculture is valued and appreciated. In this respect, the Code represents a global consensus and agreement on a wide range of fisheries and aquaculture issues.

Governments working in cooperation with their industries and fishing communities have the responsibility to implement the Code. FAO's role is to technically support their activities. It doesn't have a direct responsibility for implementation because FAO does not have a responsibility for the development and implementation of national fishery policies. This is the sole responsibility of individual governments.

Implementation of the Code is most effectively achieved when governments are able to incorporate its principles and goals into national fishery policies and legislation. To ensure that there is support for these policies and legislative changes, governments should take steps to consult with industry and other groups to promote their support and voluntary compliance. In addition, governments should encourage fishing communities and industry to develop codes of good practice that are consistent with and support the goals and purpose of the Code of Conduct. These codes of good practice are another important way of promoting the implementation of the Code.

During our journey we will be introducing an Accreditation process which will see the formation of Certified Seafood Professional (CSP) and Certified International Seafood Professional (CISP) under our Seafood Education Appraisal Platform (SEA).

  • Seafood Education Appraisal (SEA)
  • Accreditation
  • Certified Seafood Professional (CSP)
  • Certified International Seafood Professional (CISP)
  • Standard Development
  • Global Fish Names Standard
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