What Does a Sustainable Seafood Certification Mean?

We all enjoy a delicious seafood dinner from time to time, but with US seafood consumption hitting record heights in 2019 and the trend looking set to continue, the goal to consume seafood more sustainably becomes of even greater importance. In this post, we answer the question of what makes seafood sustainable and look at a few sustainable certifications.

In recent years sustainability certifications have risen in popularity as environmentally conscious food consumption becomes a key concern for many. However, understanding what makes seafood sustainable and the effectiveness of these organizations and groups is not always clear.

Here at PanaPesca USA we place huge importance on sustainability to ensure that future generations can enjoy quality seafood from around the world. We support the improvement of seafood, fishery, and marine ecosystem conservation by partnering with some of the best sustainability organizations and initiatives. Keep reading to understand our aim and commitment to caring for our environment.

fishermanWhat Is Sustainable Seafood?

Not only do over 1 billion people rely on fish and seafood as their main source of protein, but millions more rely on the fishing industry and abundant waters as their livelihoods. However, experts predict that there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050 at the current fishing rates. This is not sustainable.

Sustainable seafood is fish and seafood that has been caught by an organization or government agency at a rate that will allow the current fish stocks to replenish rapidly and not have a devastating impact on marine life. 

The requirements to gain a sustainable seafood certification vary. However,  in the US, the government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared that for seafood to be considered sustainable, the fishery management plan must: “Consider social and economic outcomes for fishing communities, prevent overfishing, rebuild depleted stocks, minimize bycatch and interactions with protected species, and identify and conserve essential fish habitat.”

Why Is Sustainability Important?

With billions of people worldwide relying on the health and safety of our marine ecosystems and their vast biodiversity, placing importance on how the seafood is caught is hugely important. When buying sustainable seafood, we recognize and reward sustainable fishing practices, which support communities worldwide, our future food security, and the health of our oceans. 

With more than a third of global fish stocks thought to be currently fished at an unsustainable rate, it is clear that something has to be done to maintain our oceans’ health. Sustainability organizations and initiatives are vital in protecting the future of our oceans.

What Are Seafood Sustainability Certifications?

The seafood sustainability movement came to prominence in the early 1990s after the 1992 collapse of Canada’s Grand Banks cod fishery. This wake-up call, along with the understanding of the importance of protecting our planet’s ecosystems, led to the creation of several seafood sustainability certifications. Today there is a range of sustainable seafood certifications that work together to help ensure the future of our oceans. 

Here at PanaPesca USA, we support the development of sustainability organizations and initiatives and are conscious of where our seafood products are sourced. We aim to source all wild-caught and farm-raised seafood from our network of sustainably certified supplier partners. 

Types of Seafood Sustainability Certifications

Although there is a range of sustainability organizations and initiatives around the world, here at PanaPesca USA, we support a few of the following organizations which work tirelessly to ensure that we can enjoy quality seafood while protecting the oceans for future generations:

Global Seafood Alliance (GSA)

The Global Seafood Alliance has been working to promote responsible aquaculture practices for over 20 years through education. The Alliance hopes to be able to continue feeding the world through sustainable aquaculture. 

Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI)

This Initiative brings together stakeholders from around the world and from a range of NGOs, policymakers, and international organizations to promote sustainable seafood for everyone.

Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP)

The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership works with different areas of the seafood industry throughout the supply chain to promote responsible practices and policies. This, in turn, reduces the current environmental impacts and ensures that everyone who wants sustainably caught seafood will have it for years to come.

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

When you see the recognizable blue tick of the Marine Stewardship Council on your seafood, you can be confident that your seafood comes from a fishery that catches seafood in a way that will ensure the long-term health of that species or fish stock. With the MSC, fisheries have to meet a specific set of requirements to receive the certification.

Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council works closely with NGOs, conservation groups, the world’s top scientists, seafood companies, and consumers to reward responsible aquaculture practices. The aim is to change the world’s seafood markets and promote conscientious aquaculture performance.

Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)

The Best Aquaculture Practices certification shows that producers adhere to best practices when supplying seafood responsibly and safely. This certification addresses each step of the aquaculture production process. 

Friend of the Sea (FOS)

Friend of the Sea is part of the NGO World Sustainability Organization, whose mission is to promote conservation. It is a sustainability certification for services and products which protect and respect the marine environment.


CeDePesca is an organization founded in 1997 whose mission is to help the fisheries of Latin America to achieve sustainability. 

The moment has come to facilitate a change. The future of our oceans depends on collaboration, support, and consumer education. Thanks to the range of seafood sustainability certifications worldwide, we can make a difference and protect the world’s richest ecosystem for our future generations.

At PanaPesca USA, we understand that premium seafood isn’t the only important thing to you. We know that the delicious seafood you are serving has to be part of something bigger. That is why we work tirelessly to ensure that our premium seafood comes from fisheries and farms that meet our seafood sustainability standards. 

Contact us for more information on PanaPesca USA’s sustainable product offerings or check out our frozen seafood online store.