Held alongside IFFO’s Annual Conference in Cape Town, MarinTrust formerly released the new version of their factory standard: Version 3 MarinTrust Global Standard for Responsible Supply of Marine Ingredients. The event provided a practical whistle stop tour of the new standard, exploring the breadth of the clauses and assessments, with advice on how to implement the changes. Speakers included MarinTrust’s CEO Francisco Aldon, Executive Chair Libby Woodhatch and Fisheries Manager Emily McGregor.
MarinTrust Team (left to right): Emily McGregor, Libby Woodhatch, Francisco Aldon, Laura Courage and Nicola Clark
Transition to Version 3
From 1 May 2024, any new applicants to the MarinTrust Programme must apply for audits against Version 3. A transition period of 1 year will allow certificate holders to prepare for audits against the new Standard. By 1 May 2025, it is expected that all companies will be certified against Version 3.
MarinTrust’s CEO Francisco Aldon noted that "over the last three years, we have consulted with marine ingredient producers around the world through pilots and self-assessments, refining the standard through engagement on the ground. In tandem, the Standard was closely developed with the MarinTrust Governing Body Committee to ensure it remained relevant for the whole value chain."
Key takeaways on each clause
The new Standard consists of 8 sections of Standard, with key changes highlighted:
Sourcing prerequisites: Both streamlined and refined, all raw materials must be assessed with assurance in place to ensure the legality of sourcing. Assessment, auditing consistency and efficiency have been improved and enhanced traceability assurance will mitigate fraudulent acts. Provides assurance on raw materials and end product, including on food safety for direct human consumption.
Quality management system: The enhanced quality management system covers the wide scope of the facility quality management system, including policies, procedures and much more. It introduces the need to provide metrics each year, with greater emphasis on due diligence. There are strengthened checks of suppliers and subcontractors as a foundation of due diligence; traceability, legal, social etc. There is also improved clarity around the use of logo and Improver Programme claims.
Responsible raw material sourcing practices: Ensures that the origin of raw materials can be verified, specifically requiring the fishery, supplier, farm. This includes key Data Elements (KDEs) from GDST, clarifying types of by-products and sources, with the aim to strengthen the traceability requirements relevant to the raw materials.
Responsible traceability practices: Covers new traceability indicators and standardisation of data to ensure traceability through the production process, from source to sale to customer. Specifies the traceability of MarinTrust compliant raw materials, including requirements for segregation from non-approved sources. It further aligns to MarinTrust Chain of Custody to facilitate linkage between standards and again introduces Key Data Elements (KDEs) from GDST, with traceability requirements being strengthened at all stages of production.
Good Manufacturing practices: Streamlined and strengthened requirements covering numerous specific requirements including hazard analysis, risk management, and operational details. Takes into consideration feed/food safety criteria, with additional focus on human consumption. Aligned to latest versions of Codex Alimentarius - General principles of Food Hygiene (2020), ISO 22000 (2018), GMP+ (2022), FEMAS (2019), in line with HACCP requirements; and with new requirements for TACCP / VACCP to improve product integrity.
Staff training and competence: Ensures that staff have the required skills to understand and deliver across all areas of the MarinTrust standard, with flexibility for plants.
Social accountability and community: Ensures effective staff safety, welfare and working conditions by introducing a collection of performance data on social practices, ensuring they are identified and managed at both the factory and on the vessels. Social accountability has been brought in line with the International Labour Organization (ILO) / latest practice.
Executive Chair Libby Woodhatch provided insights, “we need to consider social criteria, it is not only the right thing to do but it also provides the assurances required for market access and ensures marine ingredients continue to lead. For this new version, the social criteria at a factory level has been strengthened to ensure worker rights, in line with globally accepted ILO conventions. For the first time, we are expanding our scope to include social criteria on vessels supplying whole fish to marine ingredients producing plants, and these will be based upon a risk assessment framework at a country level.”
Environmental accountability: Introducing the collection of data on environmental performance to ensure effective environmental management and that the facility is in line with permits and managing environmental performance. Extended to relevant international standards, including environmental performance indicators. Permits and compliance will be required in a range of areas, including emissions to air, discharge to water, release of toxic or hazardous substances, and noise, smell, dust and ground pollution.
Lastly, MarinTrust is launching new by-product and whole fish fishery assessment criteria to strengthen risk assessment criteria and management controls for both whole fish and by-products. For whole fish, the enhanced criteria provides clarity of interpretation and focuses on strengthening management controls and mitigating risk to ecosystem. For by-products, the risk assessment framework focusses on country level IUU risks for by-product species. It includes a more efficient/clearer step-by-step process that checks IUU risk indices, endangered species lists and fisheries management systems before approval.
Summarising this development, Fisheries Manager Emily McGregor said “alongside the development of V3, we have reviewed and updated the by-product and whole fish criteria, strengthening the assessment to make it more focused. For whole fish, the criteria focus on strengthening the management controls and mitigating risk to ecosystems. For by-products, this version takes a different approach, with a complex pathway for the verification of origin, with a step by step assessment, focusing on country risk using IUU fishing risk indices.”