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FishWise’s Mariah Boyle Announced as Seafood Champion Award Finalist

Created on Monday, 20 March 2017

BOSTON, March 20, 2017—Santa Cruz-based Mariah Boyle of FishWise is one of four finalists for the 2017 Seafood Champion Award for Leadership, SeaWeb announced today. A panel of seafood sustainability experts from industry and nonprofit organizations based in Asia, Europe and North America recognized her for bridging divides to unite businesses, NGOs and governments in pursuit of common goals. She has led companies such as Albertsons, Target, Hy-Vee and Sea Delight to improve traceability and reduce the risk of potential illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing and human rights abuses in seafood supply chains. Her efforts have positively affected more than 7,500 stores and 250 million pounds of seafood.

“It is an honor to be named a Seafood Champion finalist along with such a passionate and dedicated group of changemakers,” said Boyle. “The field of seafood traceability is exciting as it is evolving rapidly. New government requirements, novel efforts by individual companies, new NGO collaborations, and pre-competitive initiatives by private sector leaders are all focusing on this critical foundation of seafood supply chains. Discussions are now focusing on the ways traceability can help improve sustainability, social responsibility and verify legality within seafood supply chains.”

The annual Seafood Champion Awards program, now in its 11th year, recognizes individuals and organizations for excellence in promoting environmentally responsible seafood. There are 16 finalists in four categories. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on June 5 at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Seattle.

“This year’s finalists have a global perspective, whether they act locally or at a broader level,” said Mark Spalding, president of SeaWeb and The Ocean Foundation. “Improving seafood’s sustainability requires addressing difficult political, technical, social and economic questions. To create change, you have to forge alliances and bring people together around a common cause. These are not easy things to do, but the Champions on this list have forged ahead and are making real progress.”

“My work would not be possible without the excellent team at FishWise and the commitment demonstrated by the seafood companies leading in this field,” said Boyle. “The sustainable seafood community that SeaWeb brings together each year at the Seafood Summit is an inspiring group that I feel very privileged to be a part of.”

The Seafood Champion Award for Leadership recognizes people and organizations that bring stakeholders together to improve seafood sustainability or ocean health. In addition to Boyle, the finalists are:

  • Susi Pudjiastuti,Indonesia’s Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries since 2014. She has banned the use of bottom trawlers and other unsustainable catching devices; led the fight against IUU fishing in her geographically dispersed island nation; and fought against the use of forced labor on fishing vessels.
  • Wally Stevensof the Global Aquaculture Alliance. A widely admired leading light in aquaculture, he has developed the GAA as both a competitive force, with its Best Aquaculture Practices certification, and a precompetitive convener via the annual GOAL Conference, the Responsible Aquaculture Foundation, the Global Aquaculture Advocate and other initiatives.
  • Sea Pact, an innovative alliance of nine leading North American seafood businesses. The organization uses its collective power to lead improvement throughout the global supply chain, funding projects to drive change while showcasing how competitors can work together.

The Seafood Champion Award for Innovation recognizes those who identify and apply new solutions to ecological challenges, market needs or sustainability barriers. The finalists are:

  • FISH-i Africa, a partnership of eight East African countries that combats large-scale illegal fishing by sharing information and taking collective enforcement action. FISH-i’s string of investigations and prosecutions has created a more responsible fisheries sector.
  • Pelagic Data Systems, which has developed a vessel-tracking technology based on an affordable, solar-powered data collection device for small vessels. The technology has helped combat IUU fishing in Gabon, Mexico, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Peru, Philippines, Thailand and the U.S.
  • Alan Lovewellof the 1,200-member, community-supported fishery Real Good Fish. He also runs Bay2Tray, a program within Real Good Fish that brings affordable local fish to public school districts with high poverty rates and sends fishermen into classrooms to teach about the ocean, fishing and health.
  • Karl Warrof Better Fishing. He has improved the sustainability of bottom trawling with an easily fitted cage mechanism that can free 95 percent of juvenile fish, saving fuel costs and allowing fishers to catch species selectively.

The Seafood Champion Award for Vision recognizes distinctive visions that significantly advance the sustainable seafood community. The finalists are:

  • Bren Smith, who is leading the development and promotion of 3-D ocean farms. His nonprofit GreenWavehelps fishers become ocean farmers by adopting GreenWave’s open-source, replicable model, which restores rather than depletes ocean ecosystems.
  • Matthew Beaudin, executive chef of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, who moved $1 million in buying power to seafood producers within a 90-mile radius. He also is a regional and cross-border leader, developing aquaponics programs to support orphaned, HIV-positive children in Mexico.
  • The Marine Research Foundation, a three-person nonprofit in Malaysia whose work protects endangered sea turtles while making Malaysia’s shrimp-fishing industry more sustainable. The MRF overcame entrenched opposition to the use of turtle excluder devices and now anticipates a full rollout of the devices, which will save an estimated 4,000 turtles. That will open access for Malaysia to a global market hungry for sustainable shrimp.
  • The Global Ghost Gear Initiative, the first effort to tackle the problem of abandoned fishing gear on a global scale. This international, cross-sector partnership works with stakeholders from fishers to the United Nations to collect data and develop and model solutions that remove ghost gear from the ocean.

The Seafood Champion Award for Advocacy recognizes the promotion of sustainability, use of the media to raise the profile of sustainable seafood, work to strengthen public policy and resource allocations, and championing of advances in sustainable seafood. The finalists are:

  • TheInternational Pole & Line Foundation, which spearheaded an effort by Indian Ocean countries to reform tuna fisheries management and played a central role in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s groundbreaking adoption of a precautionary harvest strategy.
  • Ned Bell, Ocean Wise executive chef at the Vancouver Aquariumand founder of Chefs for Oceans, who has made sustainable seafood his mission. In 2014, he rode his bike 8,700 km across Canada, hosting 20 events alongside some of the country’s best chefs to raise awareness of sustainable seafood.
  • Dr. Caleb Otto, former Permanent Representative of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations, who has led his small island nation to a position of leadership on the international stage through his passionate advocacy for ocean health and sustainability at the United Nations.
  • Bill Mookof Mook Sea Farm in Maine, who is modeling how shellfish growers everywhere can address the threat of ocean acidification. He has become a resource for hatchery and farm operators in the U.S. and abroad, counseling them on how to avoid losses and exchanging innovative ideas for protecting the industry.

For more information on the awards and finalists, go to www.seafoodchampions.org. For more information on the awards ceremony and the Seafood Summit, go to www.seafoodsummit.org.

 

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About FishWise

FishWise is a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy based in Santa Cruz, CA. Uniquely positioned between the seafood industry and marine conservation organizations, FishWise offers a range of services that empower businesses and a diverse community of collaborators to lead the transition to a sustainable, responsible seafood industry. For more information, please visit www.fishwise.org, and follow FishWise’s work on Facebook and Twitter.

About SeaWeb

SeaWeb serves the sustainable seafood community by nourishing a coordinated infrastructure of people and knowledge to guide, inspire and reward the seafood industry’s adoption of sustainable practices. SeaWeb is a project of The Ocean Foundation, a unique community foundation with a mission to support, strengthen and promote organizations dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world. SeaWeb produces the Seafood Summit in partnership with Diversified Communications.

Welcome Jodie King!

Created on Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Hi FishWise readers!

My name is Jodie and I am very excited to have recently joined the FishWise team as an Office Manager in which my primary role is providing administrative support to the FishWise staff.

My love for the ocean began many years ago as a child when my family and I would travel to Santa Cruz to camp and visit the beaches. I went on to receive my B.S. from CSU Sacramento, where following graduation I had the opportunity to live on both the Oregon and Florida coasts. It wasn’t until living in these coastal communities that I really had the opportunity to learn more about the importance of seafood sustainability. Coming back to Santa Cruz where my initial love for the water began, I was inspired to seek a career in which my previous skills and experiences would align with that of an organization making a positive impact on our environment. Prior to FishWise, I hailed from the Hospitality industry, where I held a variety of roles including managing and coordinating all the logistical aspects for a wide variety of events. I am very excited to have the opportunity to combine my interpersonal and organizational skills and passion for the ocean through my position at FishWise.

In my free time, I enjoy cooking, traveling to new places, snowboarding, sitting on the beach with a good book and being outside at every opportunity.

FishWise announces partnership with seafood supplier North Atlantic, Inc. to work on supply chain sustainability and transparency 

Created on Monday, 06 March 2017

 

Santa Cruz, Calif. (March 6, 2017) – FishWise announced today a new partnership with Portland, Maine-based frozen seafood supplier North Atlantic, Inc. (NAI) and its Indonesian subsidiary, Bali Seafood International (BSI). This partnership aims to further advance and communicate NAI/BSI’s commitment to sustainable and socially responsible seafood while exploring new opportunities to expand their influence in the industry.

Recognizing the importance of both sustainable fisheries and communities, NAI/BSI and its partners have invested in a new initiative to build infrastructure in the Lesser Sunda region of Indonesia that will integrate numerous fishing support services, including cold chain technologies, fisheries management, and education. Their new fishery community centers are expected to generate improvements in food safety and waste, traceability, and socioeconomic indicators, alongside environmental gains. BSI will pay premiums to fishers operating through the community centers, incentivizing artisanal fishermen to adopt more responsible practices.

NAI and BSI are seeking to share this innovative commercially-sponsored fishery management model with industry and broader sustainability stakeholders given its potential value in linking artisanal fishermen directly to seafood markets and improving livelihoods throughout fishing communities. This work builds on NAI’s engagement in fishery improvement projects and traceability, as well as its long-term partnerships with retailers to direct supply chains and address critical responsible harvesting practices.

“North Atlantic has been a trusted vendor to our retail partners for many years and we are excited to begin working with them more formally,” said William Wall, FishWise Distributor Division Director. “We at FishWise are always aiming to create and promote progressive sustainability leaders. North Atlantic’s ambition is unique — they are taking direct responsibility for the wellbeing of the community in which they operate and are developing mechanisms for lasting change, which we’re keen to communicate given the potential for these efforts to serve as a model for other companies.”

By capitalizing on FishWise’s expertise and network in North America, this partnership seeks to create market recognition for the on-the-ground impact NAI/BSI is developing and to ensure fishermen are rewarded for participating in community-based fisheries management.

“North Atlantic is already demonstrating its leadership in commercially sponsored seafood sustainability and social responsibility efforts,” said Bill Stride, CEO of North Atlantic. “We are excited to share our commitments more publicly and work with FishWise to prioritize future work with our new partnership.”

The partnership will begin with a third-party baseline review of NAI/BSI’s seafood products. It will then explore opportunities for aligning NAI/BSI’s integrated work with other sustainability and social responsibility initiatives globally, while promoting their milestones along the way.

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About FishWise

FishWise is a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy based in Santa Cruz, CA. Uniquely positioned between the seafood industry and marine conservation organizations, FishWise offers a range of services that empower businesses and a diverse community of collaborators to lead the transition to a sustainable, responsible seafood industry. For more information, please visit www.fishwise.org, and follow FishWise’s work on Facebook and Twitter.

About North Atlantic, Inc.

North Atlantic, Inc (NAI). is an importer of wild-caught seafood serving both traditional and emerging food retail channels. Since 1986 NAI has guided top tier retailers in ensuring supply chain visibility and responsible harvesting methods. PT Bali Seafood International, subsidiary of North Atlantic, Inc., is the parent company’s local processor and leads the development of their community-based fisheries management initiative. For more information, please contact NAI at 207-774-6025 or via email at info@northatlanticseafood.com.

About Bali Seafood International

Bali Seafood International (BSI), the Indonesian subsidiary of North Atlantic Inc., is an exporter of fully traceable, wild-caught seafood. BSI has pioneered an integrated fisheries management model focusing on three key areas: 1) building local community support in pursuit of sustainable resource harvesting, 2) driving positive social impact in the communities in which it works, and 3) providing hook-to-plate transparency for its consumers.

Producer Partner Spotlight: Scottish Seas Co-op

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FishWise is thrilled to announce a new producer partnership with Scottish Seas, a co-operative of Scottish fishermen operating in the northern North Sea and the West of Scotland. This represents the first producer partnership FishWise has entered with a seafood entity in the United Kingdom!

Scottish Seas fishermen are working together to bring the best of wild Scottish seafood to the world in a way that sustains their home communities and the seas they depend upon. The Scottish Seas fleet lands fish in many Scottish ports, including Peterhead, the easternmost point in Scotland and one of the busiest fishing ports in Europe.

This co-op is a joining together of three regional fish producers’ organizations (FPOs): Aberdeen FPO, Orkney FPO, and West of Scotland FPO. Orkney FPO was created in 2000, West of Scotland FPO was created in 1996, and the Aberdeen FPO was founded in 1973 and is the oldest FPO in Scotland. All these entities were created to represent the interests of the member vessels and fishermen. Currently, 65 vessels are part of Scottish Seas, representing over 200 fishermen.

The Scottish Seas fleet catches a range of North Atlantic species year-round. Two of the co-op’s top four species are certified to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard (haddock and Atlantic pollock/saithe), representing 12.7 million pounds of fish–that’s quite a boat load!

A third top species, Atlantic cod, is currently under MSC assessment, with a report released recently that preliminarily recommended the fishery for certification. If finalized, this will place nearly 60% of Scottish Seas’ portfolio under MSC certification–a number subject to even more growth with additional Scottish Seas species (plaice, hake, and whiting) and units of certification currently under MSC assessment.

Scottish Seas is working together cooperatively–not always an easy feat in the highly competitive industry–in the hopes of bringing a more recognizable identity to the fishermen and shedding light on their efforts to harvest seafood responsibly. Some of these efforts, in addition to certification, include increasing net mesh sizes beyond legal minimums (which helps protect young fish) and avoiding spawning aggregations (sensitive reproductive events) through the implementation of seasonal closed areas.

Operating in tandem with Scottish processors and global retailers to develop new products, Scottish Seas aims to conduct business in an innovative and open way, with no ambiguity about where its fish have originated when its products hit the shelves.
To learn more about this partner, please contact us. If you are interested in placing an order, please contact Polly Legendre of Polished Brands for a referral, or contact Scottish Seas directly through David Anderson (david@scottishseas.com).

FishWise at Seafood Expo North America

Created on Monday, 27 February 2017

FishWise will be attending the Seafood Expo North America March 19th – 21st in Boston. There are a number of panels on traceability, human rights, and anti-IUU that FishWise will be participating in, both as a member of the Seafood Traceability Collaboration and independently with other participants.

Seafood Traceability Collaboration

FishWise alongside Future of Fish, Global Food Traceability Center, and WWF have come together with the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Oceans and Seafood Markets Initiative (OSMI) to form the OSMI Seafood Traceability Collaboration. Our four organizations have aligned around a strong common vision and bring diverse but complementary capabilities and approaches to implementing that vision. We look forward to transparent communication with both industry and our fellow NGOs about our work and goals.

Boston and Beyond

The Seafood Traceability Collaboration has created a coordinated group of sessions for the Seafood Expo North America in Boston March 19-21, 2017. Session descriptions are below – we hope that you will join us!  If you have questions, please email us at tracecollaboration@futureoffish.org.

 INVESTING IN TRACEABILITY FOR TOMORROW, TODAY

 Session Date: Mar 20 2017. 3:45 pm-5:00 pm

 Description:

So you want to get on board the traceability train? Great! Now what?

It’s clear that the field will continue to change rapidly with new government regulations, advancing technologies, and looming emerging standards. What can companies do to implement traceability improvements now while ensuring they are setting themselves up to be adaptive and flexible to the evolving traceability landscape?

We’ll look at the key factors that must be considered in an evolving landscape, talk about how to “design for the future”, and hear some hard-won wisdom from industry leaders who have made the shift towards traceable supply chains. Find out how to stay up to date with changes in technology and regulation, and how to plan for a redesign that will continue to serve you two, five, or ten years down the line.

BEYOND THE BUZZWORDS: TRANSLATING TRACEABILITY FOR EVERYONE 

Session Date: Mar 19 2017. 12:30 pm-1:45 pm

Description:

There’s a new buzzword in the sustainable seafood movement: traceability. But “traceability” can be a confusing concept, as it’s not just something a company can “have” at the push of a button. At its most basic definition, traceability is a record-keeping system designed to track the flow of product through the production process or supply chain. But what it looks like in practice can vary greatly.

Traceability technology moves at a lightning pace too. As soon as you can get a handle on your XML and your RFIDs, a new system or software shows up to complicate the field. Blockchain, “true” interoperability, and the “Internet of Things” aren’t just buzzwords; they’re also key concepts and technologies that promise to affect the traceability world in a very real way.

Join us as we move beyond the marketing-speak into a practical but forward-looking conversation about the future of traceability, and the business case for its importance.

 

Human Rights and Anti-IUU Panels at the Seafood Expo North America

FishWise is excited to announce that we will be moderating a panel on human rights legislation in the seafood industry, and participating in an anti-IUU panel at the Seafood Expo North America in Boston! The panels’ descriptions and details are below. We hope that you join us!

NAVIGATING SEAFOOD TRADE AND LEGISLATION IN 2017

Session Date and Time: Mar 20 2017. 12:45 pm – 2:00 pm

Description:

In this FishWise moderated panel session, participants will learn how to ensure that their companies are compliant with trade laws and legislation, specifically the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (H.R. 644) and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The session will impart the audience with practical knowledge about relatively new policies and how these policies are being enforced. Representatives will discuss what H.R. 644 means for businesses and what methods businesses can take to ensure that they are compliant with this legislation, including outlining what procedures businesses should have in place before importation, what will happen if a product is stopped at the border, and how to move forward with your business in the event that a customs hold does occur. The session will also discuss the implications of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act for your company, focusing on how to best protect your business and demonstrate leadership in anti-trafficking. 

REDUCING RISK OF IUU SEAFOOD IN SUPPLY CHAINS

Session Date and Time: Mar 20 2017. 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Description:

A number of events in recent years have placed new scrutiny and global emphasis on the security and sustainability of seafood supply chains. The stories uncovered by the press regarding slave labor on certain fishing fleets have brought illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing to a new level of public awareness. This past year the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) officially entered into force, with the United States, European Union, and 33 other nations signed on as parties to the agreement. This new agreement, along with recommendations by the U.S. Government IUU Task Force and resulting federal agency actions, combined with IUU regulations in the European Union, will continue to place added pressure on companies to ensure their seafood products are sourced from legitimate means and free of illegal influence.

This panel session will discuss recent initiatives through partnerships between government, private industry, non-governmental organizations to mitigate the risk IUU fish and seafood products within national and global supply chains. Panel discussion will highlight practical steps and tools that seafood industry representatives can take to incorporate vessel identification, tracking, and risk assessment systems that can help the seafood industry meet this increasing demand for transparency accountability within their supply chains.

FishWise Partner Hy-Vee Establishes Ambitious Shelf-Stable Tuna Policy

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FishWise partner Hy-Vee made headlines recently when it announced the expansion of its Seafood Procurement Policy to include its entire shelf-stable tuna category.

The expanded Seafood Procurement Policy states that Hy-Vee is commitment to sourcing shelf-stable tuna from fisheries that are (in order of preference): 1) certified by the Marine Stewardship Council with supply chain traceability (Chain of Custody); and/or 2) Green or Yellow rated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program; and/or engaged in fishery improvement projects[1] making measurable and time-bound progress. Hy-Vee’s policy relies on these internationally-recognized sustainability programs and guidelines because they incorporate criteria and standards that address the biggest issues in tuna sustainability, including overfishing of tuna stocks, bycatch of non-target species, habitat and ecosystem impacts, and management effectiveness.

Hy-Vee’s Policy also includes language recognizing the importance of traceability to ensure seafood is from legal and verifiable sources, the unequivocal obligation to uphold human rights in its seafood supply chains and the need to support and engage in initiatives to drive positive outcomes in fisheries and aquaculture production.

In 2013, due to concerns over the high levels of bycatch in fish aggregating device-associated purse seine fisheries and in longline tuna fisheries, FishWise helped Hy-Vee developed two MSC-certified Hy-Vee Select canned tuna products. Moving forward, FishWise and Hy-Vee will collaborate with suppliers to improve the environmental, traceability and social responsibility of all shelf-stable tuna products the retailer sells.

[1] Qualifying FIPs must meet the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions Guidelines for Supporting Fishery Improvement Projects

Using DNA to Fight Seafood Fraud

Created on Thursday, 09 February 2017

 

Photo credit: FDA

Consumers know that coffee is coffee and chocolate is chocolate, but do they always know what they get when purchasing seafood? With so much variety and product formats, it can be easy to mislabel a seafood product or substitute one species for another – also known as seafood fraud or seafood substitution. With each processing stage a product goes through, it becomes more and more difficult to identify the species. Swapping one fish for another can have health implications for consumers as some fish contain toxins or allergens; it can undermine current conservation efforts; make it difficult for consumers to make sustainable choices; and perpetuate the trade of vulnerable, endangered, and/or exploited species.

global analysis suggested that upwards of 30% of seafood products are mislabeled or inaccurately described. Traceable and accurate supply chains are critical to addressing problems of unsustainable fishing and safeguarding seafood supplies. Twice a year, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) conducts DNA tests on random seafood samples to monitor the effectiveness of its traceability system and guard against seafood mislabeling. Compared against a barcode database of all known species, and regardless of what form the product is in, the MSC’s DNA testing program isolates and identifies the unique DNA barcode of a seafood sample and references it against the product label for verification. This offers an accurate means of verifying the authenticity of seafood products.

From ocean to plate: How DNA testing helps ensure traceable, sustainable seafood revealed 99.6% of MSC-labelled seafood is correctly labeled. Independently sampling over 250 unique products (including herring, Pacific salmon, Pacific and Atlantic cod, haddock, sardines, and pollock) from 16 different countries, the results of this latest study were supportive in maintaining the positive benefits that the MSC’s Chain of Custody program can have on seafood supply chains. This program not only provides authenticated sustainable seafood – contributing to a healthier marine ecosystem – but can also offer a unique selling point for businesses, allowing them to meet an increasing demand for sustainable seafood.

In combination with seafood product tracebacks and supply chain audits, the MSC’s DNA testing program is used to monitor the effectiveness of its Chain of Custody program and verify the authenticity of products which carry its label. While there are occasional limits to the DNA testing process (e.g. preserving and processing seafood can sometimes denature DNA), the results of this study are encouraging. The MSC seeks to address these limitations, and use other measures such as tracebacks and audits, to ensure the integrity of its certified seafood.

As global rates of seafood substitution and fraud increase, supply chain traceability schemes have become more important to verify accuracy and at times, legality, of seafood products. Although MSC-certified seafood represents only about 10% of global fisheries yield, FishWise recognizes that the MSC’s certification standards are one of many important tools for assessing seafood sustainability and accountability.

It is important to continue traceability efforts within the private and public sectors. As the most highly traded food commodity in the world, seafood is both in high demand but also part of especially complex, global supply chains. FishWise continues its work with retail partners, industry groups, NGOs, as well as the U.S. government, to ensure the highest standards are being sought out and ideally implemented for end-to-end, electronic, and interoperable traceability within seafood supply chains.

To learn more about FishWise’s traceability services, please visit our services page.

FishWise Releases Traceability and Social Responsibility White Papers Aimed at Strengthening Efforts in the Seafood Industry

Created on Wednesday, 01 February 2017

Santa Cruz, Calif. (February 1, 2017) – Sustainable seafood consultancy FishWise releases two updated white papers aimed at improving sustainability and social responsibility throughout seafood supply chains. The papers serve as comprehensive references to help conservation and human rights NGOs, businesses, and other experts and stakeholders improve human rights and traceability in the seafood industry.

The first white paper, Social Responsibility in the Global Seafood Industry, outlines the drivers of human rights and labor abuses, identifies social responsibility resources for businesses, and provides information on key legislation and initiatives. The paper’s release comes at a crucial time, given media coverage documenting trafficking and forced labor in some seafood supply chains over the past few years. This update contains summaries of new social responsibility initiatives as well as contact information that can help companies, NGOs, and other groups working to prevent labor risks connect and collaborate.

“Collaboration is critical because no one government, company, or NGO has the influence to eliminate human rights abuses on their own,” said Mariah Boyle, Traceability Division Director at FishWise. “It will take an organized and sustained effort across sectors to achieve meaningful improvements.”

FishWise’s updated traceability white paper, Advancing Traceability in the Seafood Industry, echoes the call for ongoing collaboration. Traceability – a term that describes the ability to track the flow of products and product transformations throughout the supply chain – has become the focus of much attention within the seafood sector. In particular, the European Union and the United States have both recently instituted counter-illegal fishing regulations requiring increased record keeping and reporting for select imported seafood products. These regulations, building upon those addressing food safety, have prompted companies around the globe to make improvements to their product tracking systems and to initiate conversations within their supply chains. FishWise’s white paper highlights many key traceability initiatives, and outlines next steps all types of businesses can take to improve their traceability practices.

“It is an exciting time to be working on seafood traceability. New government requirements, novel efforts by individual companies, new NGO collaborations, and pre-competitive initiatives by private sector leaders are all focusing on this critical foundation of seafood supply chains,” said Boyle. “By sharing examples and providing guidance, we hope our white paper will empower more supply chains to make traceability improvements.”

About FishWise

FishWise is a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy based in Santa Cruz, CA. Uniquely positioned between the seafood industry and marine conservation organizations, FishWise offers a range of services that empower businesses and a diverse community of collaborators to lead the transition to a sustainable, responsible seafood industry. For more information, please visit www.fishwise.org, and follow FishWise’s work on Facebook and Twitter.

Producer Partner Spotlight: Lummi Island Wild

Created on Thursday, 26 January 2017

FishWise is very pleased to officially announce our producer partnership with Lummi Island Wild. Lummi Island Wild, founded in 2002 by longtime fishermen Riley Starks and Dave Hansen, is a seafood cooperative based out of Bellingham, Washington. Lummi Island Wild harvests, purchases, processes, and sells sustainable seafood from the Salish Sea.

The cooperative fishes year-round, in many locations throughout the Pacific Northwest. Aside from sockeye, pink, and keta salmon, the species typically caught include Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified Pacific Albacore tuna, Salish Sea halibut, Pacific cod, spot prawns, Alaska weathervane scallops, and salmon caviar. Lummi Island Wild has two tending vessels, F/V Galactic Ice and the F/V Solar Ice, in addition to two new large refrigerated trucks.

Click here to watch a video of the reefnetting process.

A unique aspect of Lummi Island Wild’s operation is their utilization of traditional Coast Salish reefnets to selectively catch salmon. Salish tribes, most notably the Lummi Tribe, had been using the reefnet method for centuries, with established fishing grounds dispersed throughout the San Juan Islands. Although forced to abandon traditional reefnet fishing in the early 1900s when Europeans installed large fish traps that intercepted salmon, Lummi fishermen have reinstituted the method as recently as 2014. Salmon reefnetters catch sockeye and pink salmon during summer months and coho and keta salmon during the fall months in Legoe Bay on Lummi Island. All of the reefnet gears operated by Lummi Island Wild became solar powered in 2007, making them the first solar powered wild salmon fishery in the world. The exceptional reverence and care taken by fishermen during the handling process sets the quality of Lummi Island salmon apart. Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program designated Lummi Island Wild salmon a Green rated Best Choice option in 2013, the first and only Green rated wild salmon fishery outside of Alaska.

FishWise Project Manager Meg Songer traveled to Lummi Island last summer to become better acquainted the Lummi Island Wild family and with the co-op’s operations. Partners Riley Starks, Keith Carpenter, Tom Munroe and fisherman Bryan were all incredibly gracious hosts whose dedication to their craft is abundantly clear. Meg was invited to observe and assist aboard the custom-built tender F/V Galactic Ice on the tribal opening day of Dungeness crab season. The learning experiences and relationships established on this visit were invaluable for Meg and for FishWise.

Lummi Island Wild’s mission is to promote the respectful and responsible harvesting of wild salmon to protect the environment for future generations of fish and people, all the while helping to revive the cultural technique of reefnetting. Furthermore, the Lummi Island Wild story is rooted in complete traceability throughout the supply chain. Keeping this traceability story intact is of utmost importance to the crew and owners. The future is looking bright for Lummi Island Wild as their capacity to take on new business continues to grow and as they build and strengthen relationships with industry leaders in seafood sustainability.

To learn more about this producer, please contact us or visit FishChoice.com. If you are interested in placing an order, please contact Riley Starks directly at riley@lummislandwild.com.

Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Increases Safety Standards for Fisheries Observers Working Aboard Fishing Vessels

Created on Wednesday, 18 January 2017

 

Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries

In late 2016, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) took a step forward in improving fisheries management by adopting a new set of Agreed Minimum Standards and Guidelines of the Regional Observer Program and Conservation and Management Measures (CMM) for the Protection of WCPFC Regional Observer Program Observers. Fisheries observers have frequently been cited as an important solution to preventing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, as well as an additional safeguard against egregious human rights abuses. Unfortunately, the challenging and sometimes dangerous conditions that observers face in order to fulfill their duties are less well-known. The Association for Professional Observers has highlighted cases of assault, intimidation, unsafe work conditions, and even murder of observers for simply conducting their duties.

The new minimum standards and guidelines adopted by the WCPFC contain measures to improve the safety and working conditions for observers aboard fishing vessels participating in the WCPFC’s observer program. The standards call for minimum requirements to be met by observer providers, observer programs, and WCPFC participating fishing nations in supporting and training observers, as well as standards for their safety. The latter includes a now mandatory emergency action plan for observers to specifically handle instances of intimidation, harassment, assault, and other safety issues; the provision of an independent two-way communications system; and emergency safety beacon.

In addition to the new standards, the WCPFC has also implemented a new set of Conservation Management Measures (CMM), which provides protocols to the flag states of fishing vessels participating in the WCPFC to address instances of assault, intimidation, harassment, and death of observers. In particular, it requires flag states to immediately take action to preserve the safety of the observer if they are in danger. Instances of abuse can be reported during or after the voyage, and flag states are required to fully cooperate in any resulting investigations.

Looking ahead, the new agreed minimum standards and guidelines and CMM are a positive step in addressing the safety of observers in the line of duty. By promoting a safe working environment, observers will be more empowered to act as safeguards against instances of IUU fishing and possible human rights abuses at sea. Those who support the important role of observers in the sustainable and ethical management of fisheries should applaud the move by the WCPFC while pushing for further safeguards for observers in WCPFC’s program and elsewhere.

For more information about the WCPFC Agreed Minimum Standards and Guidelines of the Regional Observer Program and Conservation and Management Measures (CMM) for the Protection of WCPFC Regional Observer Program Observers, please contact info@fishwise.org.