Global fisheries commit to sustainability

Eight of the world’s largest seafood companies have signed on to 10 sustainability goals to improve ocean stewardship. They will also create a new global initiative connecting fisheries, scientists and business leaders.

Seafood industry leaders and scientists have issued a ten-point statement committing the industry to do more to prioritise sustainability.

Commitments include improving transparency and traceability, reducing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in their supply chains, and prioritising the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and plastic pollution.

The businesses are also committed to eliminating any products in their supply chains that may have been obtained through “modern slavery including forced, bonded and child labour”.

The statement was signed by the two largest seafood companies by revenue (Maruha Nichiro Corporation and Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd), two of the largest tuna companies in the world (Thai Union Group PCL and Dongwon Industries), the two largest salmon farmers (Marine Harvest ASA and Cermaq – subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation) and the two largest aquafeeds companies (Skretting – subsidiary of Nutreco, and Cargill Aqua Nutrition).

“This initiative has a truly global perspective, from east to west,” said Cargill Aqua Nutrition president Einar Wathne. “That makes me believe that we will have a powerful impact when addressing the challenges we have in our oceans and marine ecosystems, with the UN Sustainable Development Goals as our guideline.”

To implement their goals, the companies are now creating a new initiative called Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship. One of its focuses will be to connect the global seafood business to science.

Thai Union Group CEO, Thiraphong Chansiri, commended the emphasis on science. “We believe the entire seafood industry needs to work together on sustainable and evidence-based solutions. This dialogue between scientists and the most powerful actors within our industry represents an important part of that effort.”

The dialogue was initiated by the Stockholm Resilience Centre and took place 11 to 13 November in the Maldives. It will be followed up with additional meetings between science and business, and a next meeting is already scheduled for next year to identify concrete joint action.


Image credit: Stockholm Resilience Centre

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