Source: Pew Environment Group
Product standards and eco-labels have proliferated in the seafood market as a kind of shorthand - a seal of approval - buyers can rely on to make environmentally sustainable decisions. But what do these standards and eco-labels actually mean? Is fish produced according to a particular standard better than conventionally produced fish? And how do these different standards stack up? A recently released study is dealing with these important questions.
The study "How Green is Your Eco-label? A Comparison of the Environmental Benefits of Marine Aquaculture Standards" uses a well-established methodology, refined by the 2010 Global Aquaculture Performance Index (GAPI), to determine numerical scores of environmental performance for 20 marine finfish aquaculture standards, the Pew Environment Group reports. While a number of previous assessments have offered important insight on the sustainability of standards, this one quantitatively assess their ecological impact. GAPI does not delineate “good” versus “bad” performance. Instead, it is meant to be a tool to compare eco-labels and evaluate where they lie on the continuum of environmental performance.
This study distills a large amount of disparate information into simple scores that highlight the strengths and weaknesses of different standards. The long-term objective is to help stakeholders like seafood buyers, fish farmers, standard setters, and policy makers understand how standards as a whole are contributing to the ultimate goal of a more sustainable marine aquaculture industry. The study was released by researchers at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and is supported by the Pew Environmental Group. The full study is available here.