The national board of fisheries in Sweden decided this week to support environmental labelling of sustainable seafood.

KRAV - the Swedish certifier of organic food - is ready to start the project immediately. The first phase includes developing and testing standards for frozen cod, pickled herring, fresh prawn and fresh crab.

The first phase of the project aims to make well-functioning standards for certification of sustainable fishing. The standards will apply to wild fish and shellfish. This is an area with a history of difficulties in standardisation and certification. However, the fishing industry in cooperation with a number of coastal counties has decided to put in resources for development of standards and control for environmental labelling of marine fishing.

"Through this initiative we can give active consumers the possibility of choosing seafood that gives fish stocks and the marine environment a fair chance. The fishermen who pursue sustainable fishing can, through the label, communicate this to the public," said Johan Cejie, project manager, KRAV.

The project is lead by KRAV and is being implemented in close cooperation with the industry, government authorities, scientists and the environmental movement.

The first phase of the project involves developing and testing the standards in practice. The budget is SKr1.2m (US$128,467). It is financed half by a EU fund for the development of fishing, and half by money from Svensk Fisk, the region of Västra Götaland, the national board of fisheries in Sweden and the county of Halland.

The second phase involves development of control and introduction of the labelling.