GSA Welcomes Three New Members to Standards Oversight Committee
The Global Seafood Alliance is pleased to announce the addition of three new members to its 12-member Standards Oversight Committee (SOC).
Toby Middleton, head of market operations at the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), and Michael Park, CEO of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association, were formerly on the SOC for GSA. The third addition is a new recruit, Duncan Leadbitter, director of Fish Matter in Australia.
The addition of Middleton, Park and Leadbitter, collectively with 75-plus years of experience in wild-capture fisheries, signifies the transition of the SOC from its roots in aquaculture to a comprehensive seafood organization covering both farmed and wild-caught seafood products.
Middleton has more than 25 years of experience in sustainability and corporate responsibility. As head of market operations for MSC, he is responsible for the organization’s global market strategy, working with the organization’s 20 regional offices to increase engagement with commercial partners. He has been with MSC for 14 years. Prior to MSC, Middleton held senior level positions in CSR consulting and global environmental policy development with the United Nations.
Park has been with the Scottish White Fish Producers Association, a trade association representing 260 individual vessels and 1,400 fishermen, for almost 22 years. Park is also chairman of the Seafish, Scottish Advisory Group; chairman of Box Pool Solutions Ltd.; vice chairman of the North Sea Region Advisory Council; and chairman the Scottish Fisheries Sustainability Accreditation Group. He is also a member of various other industry and government initiatives, including Scotland’s Fisheries Management and Conservation Group. He was awarded an OBE (order of the British Empire award) by the Queen in 2018 for his services to the marine environment.
Leadbitter has more than 35 years of experience in fisheries assessment and management, seafood sustainability, marine-conservation planning, certification and eco-labelling. He has worked for industry, government and NGOs. Leadbitter is a visiting fellow at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at the University of Wollongong, a trustee of the International Pole and Line Foundation and a MarinTrust governing board committee member.
“GSA is absolutely delighted with this triple injection of global talent. Our oversight body now covers wild-caught as well as farmed seafood, in line with the new, comprehensive scope of GSA and the widespread calls for a unified approach to sustainable seafood,” said Dan Lee, GSA’s standards coordinator.
Established in 2008, the SOC directs the drafting of GSA’s certification standards by technical committees and reports its recommendations to the GSA board of directors for final approval. Under the direction of the BAP standards coordinator, the SOC also coordinates revisions to the standards. To ensure equal representation amongst the 12 SOC members, four originate from the conservation community, four from academia and four from industry. SOC members serve three-year terms, with a maximum of four terms.
Currently, there are six sets of standards in GSA’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification program and two sets of standards in GSA’s new Best Seafood Practices (BSP) certification program, the Responsible Fishing Vessels Standard (RFVS) and the Seafood Processing Standard (SPS).
GSA has welcomed six new members to the SOC in the past two years. Joining in July 2020 were Patrick Blow, aquaculture manager for Marks & Spencer; Simon Bush, professor and chair of the Environmental Policy Group at Wageningen University; and Lukas Manomaitis, U.S. Soybean Export Council aquaculture program lead technical consultant-Southeast Asia. Joining in June 2021 were Dr. Shakuntala Thilsted, global lead for nutrition and public health at WorldFish and this year’s World Food Prize Laureate, and Jenna Stoner, aquaculture program director at Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.
The next SOC meeting will be held in Barcelona in conjunction with Seafood Expo Global on April 25.
About the Global Seafood Alliance
The Global Seafood Alliance is an international, nonprofit trade association dedicated to advancing responsible seafood practices through education, advocacy and third-party assurances. Through the development of its Best Aquaculture Practices and Best Seafood Practices certification programs, GSA has become the leading provider of assurances for seafood globally. The organization’s work addresses the full spectrum of responsibility, from environmental responsibility and social accountability to food safety. Established in 1997 as the Global Aquaculture Alliance, GSA is headquartered in Portsmouth, N.H., USA. To learn more, visit www.globalseafood.org.