Five of the most influential industry and multi-stakeholder platforms in the seafood sector released a joint statement calling for action to combat the scourge of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. In their “Statement on Traceability and Port State Measures,” the groups call for a combination of private sector and government actions to help transform the transparency and accountability of seafood supply chains and block landings of IUU catch.
The five groups releasing the statement are Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS), the Global Tuna Alliance (GTA), the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST), and the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI). Together, these platforms include over 150 companies from across the seafood value chain, making this one of the largest seafood industry calls for action on record.
Recognizing the urgent need to address a major threat to ocean ecosystems and the livelihoods of coastal communities, the joint statement calls on companies worldwide to endorse groundbreaking new industry standards released by the GDST last year as the foundation for a worldwide system to improve seafood traceability and calls on governments to ratify and implement robust control measures aligned with the Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA), a powerful international treaty that requires port inspections and other measures to prevent IUU catch from being brought ashore. Taken together, these actions would go far in preventing IUU catch from reaching markets or even being landed in the first place.
“There must be nowhere to land and nowhere to sell fish and seafood that is caught illegally,” said Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean and Co-Chair, Friends of Ocean Action. “I applaud this initiative by seafood sector leaders, urge others to support their efforts in 2021 and call upon all countries to work towards full implementation of FAO’s Port State Measures Agreement. Ending illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is essential to ensuring a sustainable blue economy and the maintenance of a thriving ocean. I wish to emphasize that this is a critical target of the Sustainable Development Goal for the Ocean, SDG14.”
SeaBOS members include Maruha Nichiro Corporation, Nissui, Thai Union, Mowi, Dongwon Industries, Cermaq, Cargill Aqua Nutrition, Nutreco/Skretting, CP Foods, and Kyokuyo. “The world’s largest seafood companies understand the need to make the industry more sustainable. Eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities is a critical step in that process,” said Therese Log Bergjord, Chair at SeaBOS and CEO at Skretting. “We cannot stand by and wait. SeaBOS is united with GTA, GSSI, GDST, and ISSF to secure the future of our ocean.”