What is the scope of the programme?

The MarinTrust programme covers three key elements:

  • First, the responsible sourcing and production of marine ingredient products is assessed by the MarinTrust standard with the marine ingredient factory being the unit of certification.
  • Second, the programme goes beyond the plant to assess both sourcing and traceability of compliant marine ingredients plants throughout the supply chain. This is done through the MarinTrust Chain of custody.
  • Third, the MarinTrust Improver programme provides a mechanism by which fisheries that do not currently meet the MarinTrust requirements can work towards approval for certification.
What assurances does MarinTrust provide on the way that certifications are granted?

MarinTrust provides the standards’ framework but doesn’t make any decision on certificates. The process of auditing companies against the MarinTrust Standard and issuing certificates, is undertaken by independent third-party Certification Bodies, who comply with ISO 17065 Guidelines. Only certification bodies that are registered and formally trained and recognised by MarinTrust are authorised to conduct factory audits and fishery assessments against the MarinTrust programme. These certification bodies are global in their reach. Certification bodies are regularly audited to ensure the auditor’s knowledge on the MarinTrust standards, their competence, quality and credibility. MarinTrust certification bodies are required to ensure that auditors are fully impartial, there is regular rotation of auditors, and auditor fees are solely paid by the certifier.

All certified sites are required to have annual surveillance audits as part of the 3-year certification cycle and must undergo a recertification audit every three years in order to maintain certification status. Similarly, the fisheries assessment component of the standard includes an annual surveillance audit and full re-assessment every 3 years.

Why is it important to assure that fishmeal and fish oil are responsibly sourced and produced?

Fishmeal and fish oil are the foundation of formulated feeds and a benchmark for other ingredients. They are a vital part of the feed and the food production system. It is in the industry’s own interest to increase the profile of the sector by recognising and rewarding best practices and eliminating bad ones. Today, more than 50% of fishmeal and fish oil produced globally are certified against the MarinTrust standard.

Why was the programme created by the marine ingredients industry?

The programme was created to provide a credible mechanism by which marine ingredient producers and manufacturers can demonstrate responsible practice and full traceablity of safe and pure products.

By nature, a standard reflects both regulations and industrial practices. It is in the industry’s own interest to increase the profile of the sector by recognising and rewarding best practices and eliminating bad ones. The strength of the standard, as all voluntary standards, lies not only in the fact that it provides a consistent assessment grid for all parties, but also that it resorts to independently accredited third-party certification bodies who assess an activity against the given assessment grid.

What are the requirements to become MarinTrust certified?

The MarinTrust programme is demanding and selective. Only those stakeholders who have proved they were keen to undertake responsible practices and to work hard towards this goal have achieved the MarinTrust certification. The MarinTrust team provides the adequate support to help them in the journey towards certification.

Does the MarinTrust programme aim at improving social accountability in the marine ingredients sector?

It is crucial that social and ethical issues are addressed to provide assurances around responsible sourcing. Standards are a baseline and critical tool in demonstrating best practices and mitigating risks and can strongly support governments in regulations and law enforcement. The MarinTrust standard aims to prove that the certificate holders comply with fundamental social regulations of the land where they operate and with ILO legislations.

A new set of MarinTrust factory conformance criteria was introduced in 2017 to take ILO convention into account. It allows social and welfare rights of employees within the marine ingredient producing factories to be assessed. As the value chain’s need for assurances around social and ethical issues increases, existing criteria within the MarinTrust factory standard are being revised in the development of v3.0, with social criteria also being trialled on vessels supplying whole fish in to marine ingredient factories. This work is overseen by MarinTrust’s Social and Ethical Committee (SEC).

How does the MarinTrust programme assure that environmental impacts are reduced?

The MarinTrust standard promotes better management and production practices to reduce the environmental impact of the marine ingredients manufacturing process.

For example, the MarinTrust programme encourages the effective use of by-products as a way to recycle unused raw material which would otherwise be discarded. The MarinTrust Chain of Custody, includes a specific clause focusing on the recording of Key Data Elements (KDEs) that help demonstrate full traceability back to the origin.

Currently, one-third of the global annual fishmeal production is produced from byproducts from processed fish species used for direct human consumption. If unused for fishmeal and fish oil production, this material would carry both an economic and environmental cost for disposal. Use as raw material for fishmeal and fish oil creates a high-value product that supports global nutrition. The trend is for an increasing proportion of this raw material to be used, and MarinTrust actively  supports this trend actively.