Public consultation notice: Codes of Conduct on responsible seafood sourcing

  • Published: 31 October 2018
  • Author: Julia Whitney

The Hong Kong Sustainable Seafood Coalition (HKSSC) is releasing its draft voluntary Codes of Conduct for a four-week public consultation period, beginning on Tuesday 6 November 2018.

What is the HKSSC?
In May 2017, industry members joined together at the second Sustainable Seafood Symposium in Hong Kong, with the primary aim of addressing concerns over illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. The outcome was a broad agreement from participants to develop Voluntary Codes of Conduct (VCOCs) within the Hong Kong seafood industry using a collaborative model. An alliance of industry members – the Hong Kong Sustainable Seafood Coalition was proposed to take this initiative forward. Through the VCOCs, the Coalition aims to address the following challenges:

  • Lack of common language and confusion regarding ‘sustainable seafood’ terminology;
  • Lack of knowledge and access to information throughout the industry, which hinders communication;
  • Limited availability, choice and consistency in supply of sustainable seafood; and
  • Low consumer awareness of seafood sustainability and related issues.

What are we looking for feedback on?

The Coalition has developed two key documents: The Codes of Conduct (the Codes) and the Guidance Document. The Codes, which are comprised of a Sourcing Code and a Labelling Code, outline the practical steps in seafood sourcing and labelling, whilst the Guidance Document helps guide the process:

  • The Sourcing Code
    The Sourcing Code outlines general good practice which will be used by HKSSC members to inform their policies for fish and seafood procurement. It focuses on environmental and legality concerns relating directly to fisheries and aquaculture.
  • The Labelling Code
    The Labelling Code sets out what claims can be made by HKSSC members in relation to seafood procurement and the minimum criteria that must be satisfied to make such claims. By agreeing to follow this Code, members commit to assuring consumers that all voluntary environmental claims made in relation to their fish and seafood are consistent, clear and accurate.
  • The Guidance Document
    In addition to the Codes, there is a Guidance Document, which gives advice on best practice and implementation of the codes.

How were these documents developed?
The HKSSC follows a similar successful collaborative model as one in the UK, the Sustainable Seafood Coalition, an industry group that was formed back in 2011 with similar aims as the HKSSC, to build consistency in responsible seafood sourcing and labelling.

The draft documents have been agreed by HKSSC members and will be released for a four-week feedback period, closing on 4 December 2018.

Want to learn more?

On Tuesday 13 November, the Technical Advisor of the HKSSC with support from the Secretariat will host a 30-minute webinar. This webinar will give a brief introduction to the HKSSC, and steps on how to provide feedback.

Documents and feedback forms will be uploaded on 6 November 2018 to the HKSSC webpage:

If there are any questions, please feel free to contact the Secretariat, Julia Whitney (Project Manager, CSR Asia) at [email protected].

Interested in membership?
Join our efforts in working towards safe, legal and sustainable seafood for the Hong Kong market. Membership is open to any business buying and selling seafood in Hong Kong and Macau.

For more information, please contact the Secretariat, Julia Whitney from CSR Asia at [email protected]

CSR Asia’s role in the Hong Kong Sustainable Seafood Coalition 
Since January 2018, CSR Asia has been the selected Secretariat for the HKSSC. This role includes working closely with the Steering Committee to implement the HKSSC, arranging member meetings and developing working plans to guide the activities of the HKSSC on an annual bases. If you are interested in learning more about CSR Asia’s services in stakeholder engagement and coordination, please contact [email protected]