Building on the inputs by a range of experts who participated in the February 2017 international symposium on “Designing the Future for Fisheries Certification Schemes” at the University of Tokyo, this manuscript traces the origins of fisheries certification schemes, relevant developments, and remaining challenges from an Asian perspective. Over the past 20 years, seafood certification has emerged as a powerful tool for meeting growing demands for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture products. Despite broad consensus among countries regarding what constitute responsible fishing practices, the fisheries certification landscape remains uneven. A plethora of certification schemes has generated confusion among consumers and retailers, and capital-intensive certification schemes may be out-of-reach or impractical for some small-scale fisheries, particularly within the developing world. A recent initiative by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) is aiming to address the diversity within the certification landscape by creating a tool to benchmark certification schemes that are in line with the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and other relevant agreed FAO guidelines on fisheries, ecolabelling and aquaculture. Countries in Asia are among the world's top consumers and exporters of seafood, yet have faced some particular challenges with regard to seafood certification, underscoring the need for certification schemes that account for regional and local conditions and management practices, particularly with regard to small-scale fisheries.
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