The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the ecolabel for sustainable wild-caught seafood, and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), the eco-label for sustainable farmed seafood, are working together to create a joint global certification standard for seaweed.
Hailed as a superfood, seaweed is naturally rich in iodine and calcium, high in antioxidants, and contains more than 40 minerals, as well as numerous vitamins. It can be found in cosmetics and fertilizers, and processed to form binding agents (emulsifiers) for toothpaste and fruit jelly.
Seaweed plays a critical role in the world’s aquatic ecosystems, providing food, shelter and habitats for a wide range of organisms including fish, shellfish, marine invertebrates and corals. The new global standard will reward environmentally sustainable and socially responsible seaweed production, whether wild or farmed, and provide a benchmark for others to improve how they operate.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation around 25 million tonnes of seaweeds and other algae are harvested, representing over 15% of the total world fisheries and aquaculture production globally, with an estimated annual value of US$ 5.65 billion.
The assessment of seaweed farms and fisheries will be guided by five core principles: sustainable populations; minimising environmental impacts; effective management; social responsibility; and community relations and interactions.
Scientists, industry, conservation groups, and the general public are invited to contribute to the development of the ASC-MSC Seaweed Standard, which is expected to be finalised in 2017. To participate in the public consultation process, visit improvements.msc.org/database/seaweed-standard or firstname.lastname@example.org