Verifying responsible fisheries through independent certification.

What is Certification?

in-the-field01Sustainability certification is valuable because it offers an objective and neutral assessment of a fishery; the group offering the certification isn’t part of a regulatory or government agency. Third-party certification is increasingly a requirement for products in the national and global marketplace. Audubon G.U.L.F. has created a certification, called the G.U.L.F. Standard, designed to meet the needs of Gulf of Mexico fisheries.

Certification is about gathering information on the status of a fishery: how the species is taken, how much is taken in a season, what regulations are in place, what level and quality of research the in-the-field03fisheries managers conduct to monitor the stocks, among other parameters, to determine how the fisheries are meeting the standards of a responsible management structure.

A certification body researches the history of the fishery and gathers evidence to support their findings on how the fishery meets a standard. Oftentimes, this can be a long process, with many stages, from pre-assessment to full certification. If there are areas where a fishery does not fully meet the standard, management bodies and industry members will be given the opportunity to address those gaps through an agreed-upon action plan with the certification body. Ultimately, the certification provides assurance that a fishery is taking all necessary steps to achieve sustainability.

If significant gaps exist that would prevent a fishery from becoming certified, Fishery Improvement Projects (FIP) can serve as a step-wise approach toward certification. G.U.L.F. offers Marine Advancement Plans, modeled after FIPs, but tailored to the G.U.L.F. Standard.

Responsible Fisheries Certification – the G.U.L.F. Standard

Fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico are distinct, displaying unique life histories and ecosystem functions that don’t necessarily fit well into existing standards. To assist our region, and display the sustainability of our fisheries, we are developing the G.U.L.F. Standard.

G.U.L.F.’s position is that sustainability can only be achieved through responsible management and use. Our standard, therefore, is based on the evaluation of management systems to meet criteria based of the FAO Ecolabelling Guidelines and Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.  The G.U.L.F Standard will be used to assess the conformity of applicant fisheries using a third party certification scheme. This will serve as an alternative option in the market-place and will provide Gulf of Mexico fisheries with a robust, cost-effective way to meet the certification requirements of businesses who require sustainability assurance.


Public Comment

A 30-day public comment period is now open for the current version of the G.U.L.F. Responsible Fisheries Management Standard (Version 1.1 March 2016).

Public Comment Process

Fisheries in Progress

Louisiana Blue Crab

Louisiana Oyster

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