CONCUR worked with staff of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program to facilitate an in-person deliberation of a newly-formed decision making body to inform the revisions of its Seafood Watch standards program.

The Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) includes members from the US, Europe, Asia, Africa and the South Pacific representing 14 different organizations focused on improving fisheries and aquaculture management, international ratings system organizations, seafood businesses, seafood industry, seafood auditors and on-the-ground operations experts, policy NGOs, and academics.

At the two-day meeting in September 2015, the MSG deliberated and reached consensus on both the Wild Capture Fisheries Standard and the Aquaculture Standard. The MSG meeting was a key event in an 18 month-long undertaking that also included several scientific review panels and culminated with significant updates to the program’s fisheries and aquaculture standards. Changes to the Wild Capture Fisheries Standard were made to better account for the important role that forage fishes play in ecosystems, incorporate assessment methods for data-limited fisheries, incorporate more specific guidance for assessing bycatch for shark, seabird and marine mammal species when data is lacking, and overall strengthen the requirements for a Seafood Watch “Best Choice” based on the most recent science. For the Aquaculture Standard, more emphasis is placed on the management of cumulative impacts across all activities that affect environments in the vicinity of the aquaculture operations and on data quality and guidance when impacts are unknown or illegal activities are occurring.

These Standards provide the basis for Seafood Watch’s seafood assessments. Also addressed at the meeting was the ongoing development of two new standards focused on wild-capture salmonid fisheries and greenhouse gas emissions.