January 6, 2017


8 seafood firms join forces for sustainable industry



Eight of the world's largest seafood companies have formed an alliance aimed at "changing the international fishing industry"。


Called the "Seafood Business Ocean Stewardship", the group intends to clear out IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fisheries and inhumane working conditions.


The eight companies include Maruha Nichiro Corp., Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd, Thai Union Group, Marine Harvest ASA, Dongwon Industries, Nutreco (owner of Skretting), Cargill Aqua Nutrition and Cermaq (subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp.).


"Increasingly more people look to the sea for solutions to the global food and climate challenges facing the world community. Only by strengthening our global partnership will we find good solutions for sustainability that can increase food production from the sea", said Einar Wathne, president of Cargill Aqua Nutrition and chairman of the seafood innovation cluster of the Norwegian Centre of Expertise.


The eight companies pointed out that global seafood trade is dominated by a handful of large companies that control up to 16% of the earth's most important fish resources. They stressed their large impact on global seafood trade, and expressed concern about the future of the ocean in the face of a lack of environmental strategy and inadequate resource management. 


Linking challenges


Nutreco CEO Knut Nesse said the eight companies' initiative links the challenges in wild fisheries and aquaculture while Marine Harvest CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog stressed that aquaculture is one of the most sustainable ways of producing food for its capability to produce protein with very low CO2 emissions.


"The world needs safe, healthy and good food produced in a sustainable and efficient manner. As much as 70% of the planet is covered by water, but only 2% of our food comes from the sea. We want to do something with this", Aarskog said.


The new initiative was conceived out of a research finding by the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) at Stockholm University in 2015 that the 13 biggest companies, which it identified, largely controls the global seafood market, whether it's aquaculture or fisheries. A meeting among the companies in November resulted in the initiative Seafood Business Ocean Stewardship to create a "unified transformation of the seafood industry."


Research in the US showed that better management and controls of the catch of various fish stocks cannot only save the world's fish resources but also make it considerably more profitable.


The companies will follow up efforts in 2017 with discussions on specific measures to be taken.

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