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Friend Of The Sea About Greenpeace Assessment:” It Acknowledges The Superiority Of Our Scheme”

Atuna.com requested Friend of the sea for a reaction on the critical review of its program by Greenpeace (Atuna article dated June 24th) – below we print the full text of their answer:

“Friend of the Sea appreciates Greenpeace acknowledging the superiority of the Friend of the Sea scheme for
-          being more accessible (3.2) – In reference to Greenpeace Assessment document available at http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/friend-of-the-sea.pdf ;
-          covering also socio-economic and ecological (eg Carbon Footprint) requirements (3.1);
-          being based on categorical minimum standards (3.3, 3.5);
-          having incorporated Greenpeace standards (3.6);
-          running regular on-site audits by local monitors (3.4).

As far as Greenpeace criticisms:
-          most of them (4.1, 4.5) refer to the old certification criteria and Greenpeace acknowledges that the new Friend of the Sea criteria (introduced in January 2009) cover Greenpeace requirements;
-          as far as stakeholders’ involvement is concerned (4.2) they have now full access to the audit.
-          we are surprised at Greenpeace’s criticisms to our traceability audit procedures (4.7), as Friend of the Sea is the only scheme with on-site monitors verifying the Chain of Custody from the arrival of the vessel to the shelves.
-          as far as accreditation is concerned (4.1), the European cooperation for Accreditation (EA) has recently found that Friend of the Sea meets EA's requirements for conformity assessment schemes. This means the Certification Bodies will soon undergo independent accreditation and this will further improve the audit quality. Friend of the Sea is in this regard the only sustainable seafood scheme to use the official National Accreditation Bodies.

The Greenpeace report is an assessment of one program examining another - not an authoritative audit. We were of course aware of this and chose to cooperate in an open and welcoming manner with Greenpeace during this examination. FoS supports fully the transparency of any certification scheme, and will continue to cooperate with anyone wishing to learn more about Friend of the Sea's program. Friend of the Sea has, and will, continue to focus its resources and efforts on the development of its strong, science-based program, and not on auditing other environmental groups.

Greenpeace sustainable fisheries campaign is bringing to the attention of consumers some of the potential environmental impacts of fisheries, and it is motivating retailers and producers to go sustainable. While this is commendable – something we are all working towards - Greenpeace approach to sustainable fishing is mostly emotional, based more on potential media coverage than FoS scientific fact-based methods – but this is Greenpeace’s decision.  A good example is Greenpeace’s approach to the tuna industry, red listing Yellowfin in all oceans and proposing a ban on purse seining; evidence of the arbitrary nature of their approach.”

In a reaction to Friend of the Sea statement that “Greenpeace acknowledging the superiority of the Friend of the Sea scheme”, Nina Thuller, Greenpeace’s Ocean Consumer Markets Project Leader, stated that “Greenpeace is of the opinion that no fully credible certification system for sustainable seafood currently exists, that includes the one from Friends of the Sea. By selectively quoting from Greenpeace’s assesment of seafood certification systems, Friends of the Sea is misrepresenting our conclusions”.