The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) has officially changed its name to the Global Seafood Alliance following votes by the GAA board of directors and the board of directors of its sister organization, Global Seafood Assurances. The new name reflects the merger and the nonprofit organization’s growing involvement in wild fisheries through the addition of the Seafood Processing Plant Standard (SPS) Issue 5.1 and the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard (RFVS).
The Global Seafood Alliance board met for the first time on April 14. The board includes four new members — Arni Mathiesen, senior advisor at Iceland Ocean Cluster; Marcus Coleman, CEO of the United Kingdom’s Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish); Tom Pickerell, executive director of the Global Tuna Alliance; and Allen Kimball, executive VP of global operations and sales at Trident Seafoods — in addition to the existing members of the previous GAA board. The organization’s bylaws were updated to reflect the new 24-member board.
The name change triggers a rebranding initiative that will include the introduction of Best Seafood Practices, which will house SPS Issue 5.1 and RFVS, and will culminate in the third quarter with the unveiling of a new Global Seafood Alliance brand identity. Best Seafood Practices (BSP) is the wild fisheries equivalent of Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), the world’s leading third-party aquaculture certification program that currently includes five sets of standards for aquaculture farms, hatcheries and feed mills.
The journey to the Global Seafood Alliance began in 2018 with the formation of Global Seafood Assurances to address gaps in wild fisheries certification. Since then, SPS has been updated to Issue 5.1 to include processing plants that process wild seafood and RFVS has been acquired from Seafish and put to market, with the first RFVS-certified vessel announced in January. Also on March 1, industry veteran Brian Perkins, former regional director-Americas for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), joined the Global Seafood Alliance as its chief operating officer, to help guide the organization through the transition and into the future.
“The transition to the Global Seafood Alliance builds upon our industry-leading Best Aquaculture Practices certification program as well as our world-class advocacy and education work, all of which previously focused on farmed seafood. Best Seafood Practices and other seafood advocacy and education work will become equally important as aquaculture within the Global Seafood Alliance. We are excited about our future,” said Wally Stevens, CEO of the Global Seafood Alliance.
“Even though the merger with Global Seafood Assurances and name change represent a milestone in the evolution of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, there’s still a lot of work to do,” added Brian Perkins, COO of the Global Seafood Alliance. “We look forward to growing SPS Issue 5.1 and RFVS while continuing to build our reputation within the wild-fisheries community.”
The Global Aquaculture Alliance is an international, nonprofit trade association dedicated to advancing environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture. Through the development of its Best Aquaculture Practices certification standards, GAA has become the leading standards-setting organization for aquaculture seafood.
The Global Seafood Assurances is an independent, not-for-profit organization. The GSA vision is to provide high quality, end-to-end, fully traceable assurance for seafood, supporting the sustainable development of global production while protecting people and planet. GSA works with partners where standards already exist, and creates transparent and credible standards to fill gaps where needed. The Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard was developed by GSA, in partnership with Seafish, through a transparent and rigorous two-year process. It enables fishing operations to provide assurance of decent working conditions and operational best practice from catch to shore. GSA took ownership of the RFVS in May 2020.