Independent Experts

The GSSI Indpendent Experts are professional, competent and trained individuals appointed by GSSI’s Steering Board to assess seafood certification schemes that apply for GSSI recognition. Each certification scheme is assigned two Independent Experts(IE): a Process IE assess evidence for alignment submitted for Governance and Operational Management (Sections A and B); and a Technical IE reviews evidence submitted for Aquaculture (Section C) or Fisheries Standards (Section D).


Read more about GSSI's Independent Experts below. Further information on how IEs are selected and appointed to specific schemes can be found in the GSSI Charter and the Benchmark Tool Manual. Contact secretariat(at) if you are interested to become a GSSI Independent Expert.


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Aimee Russillo, Independent Consultant, Liseed Consulting

Independent Expert for: Sections A & B

Aimee has over twenty five years of experience in international sustainable development. She works with supply chain actors, NGOs and government actors to integrate sustainability into operations, strategic decision making and more effectively managing for impact under real world conditions. She is an expert on social and environmental standards and eco-labelling programs. She actively participates in several global benchmarking initiatives. With a joint MBA and JD, she is based in the US, having lived and worked in Europe, Latin America and Africa.

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Scott Zimmerman, Safe Quality Seafood Associates (SQSA), LLC

Independent Expert for: Section C

Since 2000, Mr. Zimmerman has worked in food safety, quality assurance, regulatory compliance, aquaculture, and fisheries management. He has professional training in Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), Pre-Requisite Programs (cGMP/SSOP), US import/export regulation, first, second and third party audits, traceability, withdrawal, recall, and product detention. His primary focus is GFSI benchmarked certification standards and regulatory requirements for wild and aquacultured seafood.

Mr. Zimmerman earned his bachelor’s degree at University of Miami (FL) and a Masters degree in Applied Science (Aquaculture) at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. He holds training certifications from AFDO, NFI/FDA, GAA/BAP, GLOBALG.A.P., ISO 9001:2000 and SQF. He also has achieved a Certificate of Registration with the National Environmental Health Association as a Certified Professional of Food Safety (CP-FS).

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Dr. Francis Murray, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling

Independent Expert for: Section C

Francis is a member of the Sustainable Aquaculture Group with 25 years’ experience in aquaculture related fields encompassing industry, academic research, rural development and consultancy. This has given him a broad inter-disciplinary perspective on the aquaculture sector and a detailed understanding of the interaction of market, technology, management, and the physical, social and economic environment. He was a co-ordinator of a highly inter-disciplinary EU-FP7 large-scale collaborative research-project ‘Sustaining Ethical Aquaculture Trade’. This project assessed the sustainability of major export seafood commodity groups farmed in Asia acknowledging values and perspectives of stakeholders along entire value chains. He currently specialises in global value chain analysis and is in a Horizon2020 research consortium (PRIMEFISH) researching competitiveness of European aquaculture and fisheries.

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Jim Scullion, Project Leader, GIZ

Independent Expert for: Section D

Jim Scullion has over 30 years’ experience working in research, management and development of small-scale fisheries in developing countries in marine and freshwaters of Africa and Asia. He has guided fisheries co-management for the past 15 years and supported fisheries private and public sectors in East Africa in fisheries certification. He served as a member of the GSSI Fisheries Expert Working Group, 2013-15. He currently leads the Responsible Fisheries Business Chains project on Lake Victoria, East Africa implemented by GIZ in partnership with public and private sector fisheries organisations. 

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Dr. John Hargreaves, Independent Consultant, Aquaculture Assessments LLC 

Independent Expert for: Section C

John is an aquaculture expert with 35 years of experience in research, teaching and development. For the last 10 years, he has been a freelance consultant on commercial aquaculture and development projects, with expertise in water quality management, engineering design assessments and Best Management Practices. He has broad international experience in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. He has worked with commercially important finfish, shellfish and crustaceans in a wide range of freshwater and marine production systems. He is also Editor-in-Chief of World Aquaculture magazine, a quarterly publication of the World Aquaculture Society.  

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Prof. Dr. Joseph DeAlteris, President, Dealteris Associates Inc.

Independent Expert for: Section D

Joseph retired from the University of Rhode Island (URI) in May of 2012, and was awarded Professor Emeritus status. In 30 years of service to URI he has taught course work, conducted research, and developed outreach programs in fisheries conservation engineering, fish population dynamics and quantitative ecology, and shellfish aquaculture. He mentored more than 40 graduate students completing MS and PhD degrees. He served on numerous government committees including the National Research Council. He authored more than 35 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and also authored and co-authored numerous books, manuals, non-referred articles, and technical reports in the fields of fisheries biology, stock assessment and fishing gear technology.

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Josie Foster, Director, J Foster Consulting LTD

Independent Expert for: Sections A & B

Josie Foster is very well known to many as both a BRC Approved Training Provider and as an auditor. Having spent many years with Tesco she is well grounded in both aspects and has traveled the world training for the BRC. In addition to her many achievements she is also an assessor for UKAS, specialising in ISO 17065, primarily for the BRC Global Standard for Consumer Products. She also runs her own business as a consultant, coach and mentor. The summary of Qualifications includes: ISO 9000 Lead Assessor qualification, ISO 22000 Lead Assessor qualification, RIPHH Advanced HACCP Certificate, BRC Food and Consumer Products Auditor, Graduate of the Royal Society of Chemistry.



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Dr. Kevin Stokes, Director, Stokes.Net.NZ LTD

Independent Expert for: Section D

Kevin Stokes is a fisheries science, management, and policy consultant with extensive international experience. He has worked at senior management levels in both the public and private sector as a fisheries scientist, manager, and advisor. Kevin worked for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) in the UK for 15 years. He has provided advice nationally and internationally at senior governmental and ministerial levels, as well as to fishing, processing and retail industries. He has acted as a fisheries assessor, auditor, and peer reviewer for multiple certification assessments for a number of Certification Assessment Bodies.

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Nigel Peacock, Director, Napfisheries & Aquatic Environment

Independent Expert for: Sections C & D

Nigel Peacock has over 40 years experience working on most aspects of aquaculture and fisheries, including a wide range of seafood sector activities, many of which had a sustainability focus. This has included directing major fisheries management projects (e.g. management of the Peruvian anchoveta fishery – one of the world’s largest) and involvement in numerous aquaculture schemes (salmon, shrimp, seabass & seabream, tilapia, pangasius). Experience of the broad spectrum of fisheries and aquaculture include feasibility assessment, market research, investors due diligence, trade analysis and the regulatory environment. Nigel has worked in 95 countries globally in the Americas , Europe & Former Soviet Union, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Oceania.

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Sally Ananya Surangpimol, Director, The Food School

Independent Expert for: Sections A & B

Sally is a pioneer in standards-setting and conformity assessments for food exports and imports, with special focus on integrated management systems. Originally from the Philippines, she has made Thailand her base, assisting stakeholders within the global food supply chain. This has allowed enterprises and governments within Asia-Pacific, North America, Africa and EU to meet and/or develop industry and government requirements for visibility in international markets. Through The Food School and Food Partners programs, which she founded and runs as Director within her wholly-owned Thai company and a second base in Canada, she supports retailers, producers, associations, NGOs, UN agencies, by consultation or auditing or training, to develop or enhance food safety and quality.

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Dr. Stephen Newman, Owner, Auaintech Inc.

Independent Expert for: Section C

Stephen has a doctorate in marine microbiology and developed, licensed and marketed some of the first commercially available vaccines for salmonids. He operates a company providing a range of consulting services and select products to the international aquaculture community and has travelled and worked extensively with fish and shrimp farmers at all levels of the production process throughout Central and South America and SE Asia. Over the last 38 plus years he has routinely conducted technical, operational, biosecurity and sustainability audits on shrimp and fish farming operations, worked with a wide variety of companies interested in gaining access to the international aquaculture markets and has been a strong, vocal advocate for the role of science based approaches to aquaculture in ensuring sustainability.

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Dr. Trevor Ward, Faculty of Science, University of Technology Sydney

Independent Expert for: Section C

Dr Trevor Ward is a widely recognised and published marine ecologist—more than 140 technical publications in international journals, books and reports, including two university texts on ecolabelling in marine fisheries.  His 40-year career includes more than 20 years with CSIRO, Australia’s premier science organisation, and in 1996 he was jointly awarded the CSIRO Chairman’s Medal for Excellence in Science.  Dr Ward specialises in the development and implementation of monitoring, evaluation and reporting (MER) systems for the natural resources and biodiversity of ocean and coastal ecosystems.  Recent areas of consulting activity include strategic policy support and evaluation in ocean biodiversity and marine natural resources management for UN agencies, governments, business and NGOs.  He has led research projects at four Australian Universities, is currently appointed to several national and local advisory boards/panels, and holds an honorary appointment at the University of Technology Sydney in the Faculty of Science.