Who has been involved in this process?
After an RFP process, Audubon Nature Institute’s Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries contracted Global Trust, Inc., to assist in the formulation of a G.U.L.F. RFM Certification Scheme. Global Trust has also worked on similar successful projects with fisheries in Alaska and Iceland.
G.U.L.F. developed and convened a Fisheries Technical Advisory Committee to lend its expertise to the certification’s development. The Fisheries TAC has Gulf-wide representation of researchers, resource managers, industry members, and other stakeholders. An Oversight Committee has also been created to ensure that the G.U.L.F. RFM Certification Program continues to develop and operate in a transparent manner.
G.U.L.F. has worked closely with resource managers to facilitate communication and outreach regarding fisheries and issues of sustainability, and to include stakeholders to ensure that the standard formulation process is transparent and thorough.
Although we, Audubon Nature Institute, own the standard and scheme, we do not certify, which means that we will assign authority to independent certification bodies to apply the standard to our fisheries. Audubon will remain neutral to certification decisions but will oversee the process to ensure that all entities are appropriately applying the documents, being treated fairly, and assessing consistently.
What’s in the Standard?
The Standard is comprised of five sections derived from the FAO documents that measure the effectiveness of:
A. The Fisheries Management System
B. Data Collection, Stock Assessment and Scientific Advice
C. Management Objectives for the Stock
D. The Precautionary Approach
E. Mitigation of Serious Impacts of the Fishery on the Ecosystem
These sections are in turn divided into Fundamental Clauses; each Fundamental Clause is further subdivided into specific assessment criteria.
What are the next steps?
We are in the process of developing an ecolabel to be associated with the certification and a Chain of Custody Standard to provide traceability for products certified under the G.U.L.F. RFM Program.