The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Committee of Fisheries (COFI) has adopted a set of voluntary guidelines for the ecolabelling of fish products in an effort to ensure the sustainability of the world’s marine fisheries.

The ecolabels would certify that a product was produced in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way. Such labels enable consumers to support responsible food production if they wish.

The new guidelines are aimed at providing guidance to governments and organisations that already maintain, or are considering establishing, labelling schemes for certifying and promoting labels for fish and fishery products from well-managed marine capture fisheries.

The guidelines outline general principles that should govern ecolabelling schemes, including the need for reliable, independent auditing, transparency of standard-setting and accountability, and the need for standards to be based on good science.

They also lay down minimum requirements and criteria for assessing whether a fishery should be certified and an ecolabel awarded, drawing on FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

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