On last week's IntraFish Podcast we discussed who came out the worst in all of the recent investigations into labor violations in shrimp and whitefish processing plants in India and China, and landed on one group in particular: certification standards groups.

Many of the facilities and farms accused of labor violations in these recent investigations hold Global Seafood Alliance (GSA), Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) or Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certifications, either of their farms or facilities.

That's left a lot of unanswered questions for the industry. But while certification standards have drawn a lot of fire, the finger-pointing and blame-shifting isn't doing anyone a whole lot of good. What might, however, is for buyers to take a little more ownership of their responsibilities.

This week, we invited Andrew Mallison, the former CEO of GSA, director general of The Marine Ingredients Organisation (IFFO) and standards director at the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to give his take on how seafood companies and retail buyers should respond to the latest slate of bad news.

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Mallison said the revelations from the investigations were disappointing, but not surprising given the nature of audits.

"Take the audit for what it truly is: it's a snapshot," Mallison said. "They could have put on a fantastic show, but you're gone tomorrow, and it all changes."

While having a credible third-party certification is undoubtedly a positive thing, he added, it is no longer enough. And certifications do not "abdicate your responsibility," Mallison added.

"If you're making promises to your marketplace, then you'd better be making sure you're not just relying on an audit," he said.

"If as a buyer you're expecting to run it up a flagpole and say, 'This is our shield.' It's a pretty flimsy one because there are too many chances for it not working, particularly if you have a trading relationship with that source where it's all about the price."

Mallison said there is one key relationship that is far more important than certification. Listen to the full episode below to hear more.