Accelerating the recovery of the European Eel

About the SEG Standard

What is the SEG standard?
The SEG standard describes the standards to which those who trade in the European eel must comply if they wish to claim to be doing so responsibly.  It is based on similar principles to the Marine Stewardship Council  that sets standards for sustainable sea fishing and traceability.

What does it mean?
Achieving the SEG standard means that the business is:
    • acting responsibly, according to a code of conduct for best practice in the commercial eel sector
    • trading in certified responsibly sourced European eel
    • playing its part in making a positive contribution to the European eel population
To achieve the standard, businesses must show that their work methods and handling practices meet the requirements of the SEG standard during an independent assessment. When the eels have also been sourced and tracked throughout the supply chain, then the claim for traceability can be validated with appropriate labeling.
It allows consumers and those in the supply chain to choose to purchase eels certified as caught, handled and traded responsibly, and according to best practice.

What is its purpose?
The purpose of the SEG standard has been defined by the SEG Board, in support of its Theory of Change as:
To maximise the contribution of eel fishers, ranchers, aquaculturalists, traders and consumers of eel products to the restoration of healthy eel populations, distributed throughout their natural range, fulfilling their role in the aquatic environment and supporting sustainable use for the benefit of communities, local economies and traditions.
The standard has been developed as part of the solution for the sustainable recovery of the European eel. It is designed to:
    • Enable operators to demonstrate high standards and their commitment to sustainability
    • Encourage high and responsible standards through the supply chain, from fishery to market
    • Encourage responsible practices and markets
    • Provide confidence to consumers who wish to buy responsibly

How does it work?
Gaining certification
This is a summary of the process to gain certification under the SEG standard:
    • Client registers an interest to seek assessment and gain certification under the standard, by contacting
    • SEG provides contacts for approved Certification Bodies. This is available here.
    • Client contacts a qualified Certification Body to arrange assessment
    • Certification Body completes the assessment and provides a draft report for comment to the Client before finalising
    • Certification Body provides confirms the outcome of the assessment to the Client, with certificate and supporting documentation (e.g. SEG Standard Conditions of Use)
The status of the assessment and all previous assessments, are included on the register of assessed organisations on the SEG website.

Review and improvement
The SEG standard is reviewed regularly to keep it up to date with changes in the law, and in response to feedback from users. The activities and procedures for developing and reviewing the SEG standard are described in the SEG Standard Development Procedure.
Comments on the standard are welcome at any time. If you wish to comment, please complete this simple form and send it to

The standard can be accessed and downloaded in different languages from here.

ISEAL membership
SEG is currently applying to become a member of the ISEAL Alliance to gain independent recognition for the SEG standard and our principles.  ISEAL’s mission is to strengthen sustainability standards systems for the benefit of people and the environment.
SEG formally started the application in October 2016.  We hope to become an Associate member by the end of 2018 with full membership by the end of 2019.
The systems that support the SEG standard are the Standard SettingMonitoring & Evaluation  and Assurance systems.  The documents that make these up are provided in the page The SEG Standard System.
For more information, contact us: