Interactive guide

Our guide to seafood standards can help you to understand exactly what seafood labels mean for safety, sustainability and welfare in the industry.

There are two ways to use our interactive guide to seafood standards, simply:

1. Use the issues filter to the right to select which factors are important to you. For example, select the environment/fisheries factor as an issue and by hovering your cursor over each logo those Standards that cover environment/fisheries issues will have a dark blue border around the logo.

or

2. Choose up to four standards, by clicking on the relevant logo. These will automatically appear in our interactive table below. A highighted cross or tick within the table indicates supplementary information.

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AlaskaRFM

Alaska RFM

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ASC

Dialogues/Aqua-culture Stewardship Council

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GAA

Best Aquaculture Practices (GAA)

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BRC

British Retail Consortium

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RSPCA

Freedom Foods

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FOTS

Friend of the Sea

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GlobalGAP

Good Agricultural Practice

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RFPI

Iceland Responsible Fisheries

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IFFO RS

International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation

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ISO

ISO TC 234 Fisheries & Aquaculture

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MSC

Marine Stewardship Council

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NFFF

Fish & Chip Quality Award

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SALSA

Safe And Local Supplier Approval

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RFS

Seafish Responsible Fishing Scheme

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SOFHTe

Society of Food Hygiene and Technology

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SAO

Soil Association - Organic Standard

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What is covered?
Wild fisheries
Yes
N/A
N/A
Yes
N/A
Yes
N/A
Wild Capture Fisheries only
Whole fish and by-products
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
N/A
Farmed fish
N/A
Yes
Farmed Fish and Crustaceans. The BAP program outlines standards for each type of aquacultural facility. It currently certifies shrimp farms and hatcheries; salmon, tilapia, channel catfish and Pangasius farms; seafood processing plants and feed mills.
Yes
Specifically, Atlantic salmon farmed in the UK.
Yes
GLOBALGAP Aquaculture standards cover good aquacultural farm practices but also enable the farmer to provide evidence that feed and seedlings entering the farm activities are also GLOBALGAP recognized.
N/A
From by-products
Finfish only
NB Enhanced wild fisheries/cultivation only.
Yes
Yes
N/A
Yes
Finfish and shellfish
Issue addressed
Environment / Fisheries
General principles which apply across all ASC standards (with slight variations):
  • Manage the farm site to conserve natural habitat and local biodiversity
  • Conserve water resources
  • Avoid adverse impacts on wild populations and species diversity
  • Use resources efficiently and responsibly
  • Manage disease and pests in an environmentally responsible manner
Sourcing from responsibly managed fisheries:
  • Whole fish must come from fisheries scientifically assessed and meeting the key principles of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries
  • MSC certification is accepted as evidence of compliance
  • Fish by-products must come from well managed stocks and not include IUU or IUCN red listed fish stocks
  • Fish and by-products from IUU are excluded
Three key principles:
  • Sustainable fish stocks: Fishing activity must be at a level which is sustainable for the fish population
  • Minimizing environmental impact: Fishing operations must be managed to maintain the structure, function, and diversity of the ecosystem on which the fishery depends
  • Effective management: Fishery must meet all local, national and international laws and have a management system in place to respond to changing circumstances to maintain sustainability
Fishing operations conducted in ways that minimize negative environmental impacts and reduce waste. Vessel must comply with all
current regulatory requirements and standards. Also where practical:
  • Use of selective fishing gear and best practices to reduce discards, reduce capture of non-target species and undersized or spawning stock
  • Recovery of lost fishing gears
  • Management of vessel discharges
  • Recovery of marine litter
  • Accurate records of catch should be maintained
N/A
Fish used should be responsibly sourced. Owners/managers should be aware of the issues regarding responsible sourcing and preferably able to provide consumer information on traceability.
Aquaculture operators shall:
  • Coordinate and collaborate with regulators in development of policies, regulations and procedures to achieve environmental, economic and social sustainability of aquaculture operations
  • Only use sites compatible with long term sustainable operation with ‘acceptable ecological effects’
  • Avoid unnecessary destruction of mangroves and other environmentally significant fauna & flora
  • Minimize the effects of effluents on surface and groundwater quality and sustain diversity
  • Co-operate in research, technological and educational activities aimed at improving the environmental compatibility of aquaculture
To achieve the organic standard, producers must
  • manage the operation sustainably and integrate it with the local environment
  • ensure minimal environmental impact and maintain ecological diversity and local wildlife
  • use renewable energy/recycled materials where possible
  • develop area management agreements with neighbouring farmers and landowners
  • Carefully manage water quality for both environmental and welfare control
  • Use feeds of organic origin or from wild marine resources independently certified as sustainable
They must not
  • use herbicides or agro-chemical pesticides
  • use fishmeal or fish-oil from sources not certified as sustainable
Control points and compliance criteria include:
  • Environmental management of waste, water and effluent
  • Maintenance of impact assessments and biodiversity plan
  • Control of predators and escapes
  • Avoidance of high conservation value areas eg. mangroves
Aquaculture:
  • No critical impact on habitat
  • waste water compliance
  • negligible escapees/bycatch
  • no use of antifoulants/GMOs/growth hormones
  • monitor energy use and seek gradual carbon footprint reduction
  • Use of FOS certified fish feeds when available, or feeds derived from
processing residues. Record conversion index of feeds and seek gradual reduction.
Wild fisheries:
  • target stock not overexploited
  • maximum 8% discards
  • no bycatch of endangered species
  • no impact on seabed
  • regulatory compliance
  • monitor energy use and seek gradual carbon footprint reduction 100% conformity to essential requirements is necessary in order for the Certification body to recommend the enterprise for certification
Key conformance criteria include:
  • Fisheries management system
  • Science and stock assessment activities
  • Use of a precautionary approach
  • Management measures
  • Implementation, monitoring and control
  • Serious impacts of the fishery on the ecosystem
N/A
N/A
With the intention that the standards will:
  • promote the sustainable development of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors   • develop specifications for technical equipment adapted to the local
environment
  • improve surveillance and management of marine resources
  • enable international agreement on sampling methods
  • improve the safety of employees
  • establish a common terminology
Wider environmental impacts covered by the standard include:
  • Predator management
  • Escapees
  • Extraneous species
  • Fallowing
  • Aesthetic considerations
The requirements for the certification of a fishery are:
  • Adoption and implementation of a structured fisheries management system. The objective is to limit the total annual catch (TAC) from the fish stocks so that catches confirm to levels permitted by the relevant authorities
  • Fish stock shall not be overfished and this shall be verified through scientific research and assessment by international experts
  • Implementation of an effective legal and administrative framework for the fishery, with compliance ensured through effective mechanisms for monitoring, surveillance, control and enforcement
  • Effects of the fishery on the ecosystem are limited by the application of a specified approach
Social welfare
General principles which apply across all ASC standards (with slight variations):
  • Obey the law and comply with all national and local regulations
  • Operate farms in a socially and culturally responsible manner (aligned with ILO conventions)
  • Be a good neighbor and conscientious citizen
N/A
N/A
Vessels to conform to normal UK regulatory standards
  • All crew to have completed mandatory MCA training in safety, sea survival, fire fighting and first aid
N/A
N/A
Aquaculture operators shall:
  • Strive to provide local benefit through diversification of local economy, employment, contribution to tax base and infrastructure, with respect for artisanal fisheries, forestry and agriculture
  • To provide a fair and adequate quality of life, work satisfaction and working environment
  • To develop ecologically responsible production, processing and distribution chains, emphasising local systems
Control points and compliance criteria include:
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Health and safety of workers
  • Application of GlobalG.A.P. GRASP module
  • Compliance with international and ILO directives on Child Labour
  • Remunerating workers with salaries at least to legal minimum wage
  • Assuring workers’ access to medical care
  • Applying safety measures in accordance with legal requirements
  • It is recommended that the organization should be SA8000 certified
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Food safety
NB.Not included explicitly, but food safety is expected to be improved by implementing the ASC standards (e.g. improved water quality, stricter requirements for disease control and other additives)
Good manufacturing practice for safety, purity, and traceability
  • Factory must have attained Certification to the International Feed Ingredients Standard (IFIS) of the International Feed Safety Alliance (IFSA) or equivalent, as proof of responsible manufacturing
  • The applicant must be in possession of all relevant permits and licences for the production and sale of fishmeal and fish oil products
N/A
  • Skippers and crew must have catch handling and food hygiene experience
  • Vessel standards, capture methods, handling and storage procedures must maximise and maintain catch quality
  • Up to date records must be maintained
The SALSA Audit standard has four sections:
  • Pre-requisite food safety controls - must be in place and adhered to
  • An appropriate hazard analysis and risk management process (HACCP) - must be implemented and maintained
  • Documentation – appropriate documents, records and data relating to product safety, quality and legality must be used and accessible
  • Premises - must be maintained to prevent contamination and enable production of safe and legal products
Operational factors include:
  • Hygiene, cleanliness and condition of premises and equipment
  • Hygiene/temperatures of chill and freeze units
  • Management controls, HACCP and record keeping
  • Image and presentation of shop to consumers

Food Quality/Safety/Customer experience factors:   • Raw material selection and quality
  • Food handling and preparation practices
  • Cooked product quality
BAP audits food safety throughout the aquaculture production process, from hatchery and feed mill to farm and processing plant. On farm standards examine chemical use and related food safety.

BAP Plant standards require processing facilities to have HACCP plans and controls plus testing for microbiological contaminants, pesticides and drug residues.
Yes
Control points and compliance criteria include:
  • Biosecurity and food defence procedures
  • Record keeping and hazard analysis
  • Controlled use of medicines and treatments
  • List of prohibited chemical inputs including growth promoters, dyes and antibiotics
  • Residue analyses
N/A
N/A
Seven 'chapters' covering
  • Senior management commitment and continual improvement
  • Food safety plan (based on HACCP)
  • Food Safety and Quality Management System (building on principles of ISO 9000)
  • Site standards
  • Product control
  • Process control
  • Personnel standards (including training, protective clothing and hygiene)
Eleven sections are covered by the Standard and are the basis of the online questionnaire:
  • Basic supplier details including products, storage, premises, staff numbers, enforcement history, other certifications
  • HACCP team, training and controls
  • Written systems
  • Working environment, storage, pest control measures, staff facilities, hygiene control
  • Site security
  • Foreign body controls
  • Staff hygiene, training
  • Handwashing
  • Supplier control, raw material process checks, equipment and records
  • Complaint handling and product control
N/A
N/A
N/A
Animal welfare
General principles which apply across all ASC standards (with slight variations):
  • Manage stock health and welfare in an environmentally responsible manner (e.g. maximum stocking density, maximum mortality rate, growth rate)
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Aquaculture operators shall:
  • Seek continuing improvements in feed use and use therapeutic agents judiciously - in accordance with appropriate regulation and only when needed
  • Take all reasonable measures to avoid disease outbreaks among culture species, between local farm sites and across geographic areas
  • Take all reasonable steps to ensure permissible introductions of exotic species are done in a responsible and acceptable manner and in accordance with appropriate regulations
Key elements covered by the standard include:
  • Management of organic system including sourcing of eggs and broodstock
  • Use of appropriate equipment, water quality etc
  • Maintain high welfare standards
  • Keep stock healthy and minimize use of veterinary medicines
  • Humanely harvest, transport and slaughter
Control points and compliance criteria include:
  • Fish health, welfare, management and husbandry
  • Hatchery management
  • Feed management
  • Veterinary management and use of treatments and medicines
  • Harvesting and slaughter practices
  • Pest control
  • Disease management
Yes
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Key elements covered by the standard include:
  • Freshwater stage
  • Management and stockmanship, record keeping
  • Husbandry: humane handling, pest management, grading, genetic management, biosecurity
  • Feeding
  • Equipment and environmental quality: tanks, water quality, stocking density, lighting, environmental enrichment
  • Fish health
  • Transport
  • Welfare at slaughter
N/A
Features
Does the scheme have a consumer logo?
The ASC label has been developed for use by certified and licensed farms, processors and distributors so that all parts of the value chain and especially consumers can easily identify ASC certified product(s). The use of the ASC label can be applied only to products that are sold through a consecutive, certified chain of custody that ensures traceability of certified products from production to final point of sale.

There is a license fee for use.
No. Business to business only
Yes - see above
No – scheme has a logo but this is not targeted at consumers. Every qualifying vessel can use the RFS logo to flag its qualification and enable buyers to identify RFS catches in the marketplace.
No. Business to business only
Yes – award holders are licensed to use the Fish & Chip Quality Award logo for marketing their businesses to consumers. Re-assessment to the required standard is required every 2 years.
Yes. BAP Retail Mark includes 1-4 stars, to reflect level of program participation. Shrimp products can bear a mark with up to four stars, salmon, tilapia, channel catfish and Pangasius packs up to three stars. BAP standards for salmon, tilapia and catfish hatcheries have not yet been developed. In addition, a certification number on the mark indicates where the product was processed.
Yes. It is compulsory to use the logo on consumer packaging of products certified under the scheme.
No. GLOBALG.A.P. is a business-to-business label and is therefore not directly visible to consumers.
The use of the logo is authorized by Friend of the Sea only following a positive outcome of an inspection carried out by the Certification Body.
Yes. This is known as the Alaska RFM Certification Seal and may be used for product labelling.
No. Business to business only
No. Business to business only
Not at present although this may be possible in the future.
Yes
Optional
Is traceability included?
Yes. Chain of custody for ASC certified products is assured through MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) chain of custody certification, to which the ASC CoC requirements have been added (as a scope).
Yes. The IFFO RS standard covers full traceability from the fishery to the fishmeal factory gate. The IFFO RS Programme also has the IFFO RS Chain of Custody Standard which requires the applicant (a legal title holder of the fishmeal and fish oil) to demonstrate that the products used are IFFO RS certified. An applicant must be able to demonstrate that IFFO RS products are segregated from non-IFFO RS products and that traceability can be maintained at all times throughout the distribution.
Yes – the MSC Chain of Custody Standard ensures that all MSC-labelled seafood comes from a certified sustainable fishery.

Chain of custody requires effective traceability, storage and record-keeping systems. The MSC also tests the traceability with random tracebacks and DNA testing.
Yes – 'one up one down' traceability must be demonstrable.
Yes. The business must have a practical system of raw material and product traceability.
Yes
Yes. All certified facilities must maintain online or paper-based records to document and establish "one up, one down" traceability. Where facilities claim inputs from BAP-certified farms, hatcheries, feed mills or processing plants, a chain of custody audit is required to verify proper product segregation and record keeping.
Yes
Yes. Within this certification system, full segregation and traceabiliy of certified products can be checked with our supporting Chain of Custody certification.
Yes. Essential requirements are that the fishery:
  • must guarantee that a specific traceability system is in place to demonstrate that audited products respect all requirements of the FoS Standard and there is no possibility of mix with other non-certified products.
  • provides clear identification of the origin of the products including the fishing area and the fishing method used.
  • uses all available interconnected traceability methods (including GPS and Internet technology) for all larger boats (not necessarily applicable to small-scale coastal fisheries) as part of an unequivocal marking system and non-forgeable document tracing system.
Yes – as part of Chain of Custody standard.
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes, as part of Chain of Custody standard.
Are processors also reviewed?
Yes, as part of Chain of Custody standard.
No
Yes, as part of Chain of Custody standard.
N/A
Yes
N/A
Yes
Yes
Yes. Please note that GLOBALG.A.P. include processors through Chain of Custody certification, as it does MSC and ASC.
Yes, as part of Chain of Custody audit.
Yes, as part of Chain of Custody standard.
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes – as part of Chain of Custody standard.
Which guideline does the standard comply with?
FAO Code for Responsible Fisheries
N/A
Yes
"The MSC meets the highest benchmarks for credible certification and ecolabelling programs, including the UN Food and Agriculture Organization guidelines and the ISEAL Code of Good Practice".
Yes
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes
FAO Aquaculture Certification guidelines
The ASC certification requirements have been developed to be in full compliance with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Technical Guidelines on Aquaculture Certification.
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
BAP standards adhere to international norms including FAO Technical Guidelines on Aquaculture Certification and the guidelines of the Global Food Safety Initiative.
N/A
Referenced
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
FAO Ecolabelling guidelines
N/A
Yes
The MSC program is fully consistent with FAO guidelines and achieved full consistency in Sept 2006.
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Friend of the Sea follows the FAO Guidelines for the eco-labeling of fish and fishery products from marine capture fisheries. In particular, Friend of the Sea criteria particularly highlight article 30 of the Guidelines, allowing certification only of products from not overexploited stocks.
Yes
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes
Global Food Safety initiative
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
No, UK only scheme
Scheme only applies to the UK
Yes, the BAP Processor standard is GFSI compliant.
N/A
Yes. Only Standard at farm level for version 3. For version 4 this is in the process of recognition.
N/A
N/A
Yes
No, UK only scheme
N/A
N/A
N/A
Other
N/A
N/A
ISEAL Code of Good Practice.
WTO Technical barriers to trade agreement.
RFS certifies vessels that respect and achieve standards set out in the British Standards Institution Publicly Available Specification (PAS 72:2006) covering good practice for fishing vessels.
N/A
HACCP and UK Health & Safety regulations.
BAP standards are developed through a transparent process by a committee composed of technical experts and representatives of those groups interested in or affected by the standards. They undergo a public comment period and are subject to regular review and improvement.
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes
N/A
N/A
N/A
Is the RSPCA's own standard, conforms to the 'Five Freedoms' as defined by FAWC (Defra).
RFM Specification
Which accreditation schemes and assessments are used?
IAF (and member accreditation bodies)
N/A
Yes
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes, eg. INAB and ANSI
N/A
GLOBALG.A.P. is Association Body Member of IAF and supports the objectives of international accreditation to ISO guidelines.
Accreditation bodies shall be members of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) or a member of IAF's special recognition regional groups and implement procedures described in ISO/IEC 17011:2004 and other documents recognized by the above organizations.
Yes
Yes
N/A
N/A
N/A
ISO 65 Accredited by Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB).
ISEAL Alliance
Developed in accordance with the ISEAL Code of Good Practices for Setting Social and Environmental Standards, the Standards shall be reviewed on a periodic basis to ensure continued relevance and effectiveness in meeting their stated objectives and, if necessary, revised in a timely manner.
N/A
The MSC is a member of the ISEAL Alliance.
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
ISO 65 Conformity Assessment Body (CAB)
Independent third party audits of farms that seek ASC certification should use a CAB that has been accredited by Accreditation Services International GmbH. (ASI) in conformity with ISO/IEC Guide 65: 1996 general requirements for bodies operating product certification systems. In addition the ASC specific requirements (as specified in the ASC Farm Certification and Accreditation Requirements) must be met by CABs.
Yes, this standard is fully accredited by INAB to ISO 65 (EN 45 011).
MSC certifications are structured in sequence based on the ISO Guide 65, the document upon which the MSC certification system is based.
N/A
N/A
N/A
To be certified as operating according to BAP standards, facilities must apply to the BAP program and provide administrative and operational data. Individual facilities undergo audit by an ISO-accredited certification body for demonstrated compliance with the BAP standards. The audit process includes physical inspection, documentation reviews, personnel interviews and results from laboratory analyses.
Yes
Yes
The standard is designed so that the applied certification procedures should be compatible with the requirements of ISO 65 (EN 45 011). The certification body itself should be accredited on the basis of ISO Guide 65 (currently accredited certification bodies are shown on the Friend of the Sea website).
Yes, this standard is fully accredited by IAF to ISO 65 (EN 45 011).
This standard applies the principles of ISO 9000.
N/A
Yes
N/A
Yes, this standard is fully accredited by IAF to ISO 65 (EN 45 011).
Accreditation Services International
Yes
N/A
Yes
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
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