USA-based NOAA Fisheries self-assessment of US federal fishery management found that overall, USA fisheries could be considered biologically sustainable and well-managed, meeting FAO guidelines for sustainable fisheries. Although the assessment, which was led by Dr Michelle Walsh, was conducted by NOAA Fisheries itself, it was independently peer-reviewed by the Center for Independent Experts, who were in general agreement with the assessments methodology and findings.
The FAO ‘Guidelines for the Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries’ is a voluntary scheme outlining principles, minimum requirements, and institutional/procedural aspects of ecolabelling fishery products from marine capture fisheries. Calling for transparency, the use of third party scientific fishery assessments, and consistency with the FAO ‘Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries’, the FAO Ecolabelling Guidelines are widely accepted as the benchmark for certification schemes such as the Marine Stewardship Council, as well as for assessing fisheries sustainability throughout the world.
Although the FAO Ecolabelling Guidelines only address the biological dimension of sustainability in fisheries, NOAA’s self-assessment also assessed the social and economic aspects that are important to fisheries sustainability.
This article was written for (and can be read in full on) The Fish Site.