Fisheries and farms across the globe support the livelihoods of 59.6 million people who rely on fishing and fishing related activities for income, and about 3.2 billion people who depend on fish as an important part of their diet. But illegal fishing is threatening the food supply of coastal communities as fish populations decline due to overfishing in areas fishers are not permitted to access. Fortunately, in Peru—one of the world’s leading producers of mahi mahi and squid—the government is taking action to clamp down on illegal fishing.
Every seafood journey is different, but they’ve got at least one thing in common: they all go through a lot to get to your plate.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, nearly 90% of the world’s fisheries are harvested right up to or beyond their ecological limits. This means that at best, fisheries are unable to sustainably produce more seafood or, at worst, are on the verge of collapse. As populations and appetites for nutritious protein like seafood grow, we have precious few resources to spare.
And yet, FAO also reports that around 35% of harvested fish and seafood is either lost or wasted along the supply chain—with other studies putting that number closer to 50%. Where does this loss happen?
By: Chef Lucas Glanville, Guest Contributor
Billions of people around the world rely on seafood for nutrition and livelihoods, but we are taking more from the oceans than can be replaced. This has serious impacts. As the global population and the demand for seafood grows, it will only become more difficult for communities around the world to have access to seafood.
What we put on our plate matters – tremendously. That’s why, as a chef, I have a responsibility to help shift fishing and farming practices and avoid the depletion of this important resource.
For consumers in Brazil, finding and buying local, sustainable seafood is no easy task.
As it stands, farmed tilapia is the only option for domestic, eco-certified seafood. There are no other domestic, eco-certified farms and fisheries in the country.
With so few local, certified products on the market, it is no surprise that Brazilian consumers are not as aware of seafood sustainability issues than those in other regions, such as the United States and Europe. But with a population approaching 210 million, Brazil is an increasingly critical market for sustainable seafood. That is why World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is working with foodservice giant Sodexo in Brazil to help the catering distributor’s buyers choose more sustainable options.
By: Elizabeth Herendeen, Guest Contributor
Bristol Bay, Alaska produces 44% of the world’s sockeye salmon supply. It supports more than 14,000 fishing jobs, centuries-old indigenous communities, and hundreds of species of diverse wildlife, from bald eagles to brown bears to beluga whales.
It’s also a model fishery, managed sustainably by fishermen who understand that it’s in their long-term economic, social, and environmental interests to protect this valuable resource. Unfortunately, looming clouds on the horizon signal rough seas ahead for Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery.
Shrimp dominates aquaculture, both in terms of volume and risk. Farming shrimp around the world provides nutrition and livelihoods for millions of people, yet it’s also associated with environmental and social harm, from water pollution to forced labor.
For large brands that want to offer more sustainable seafood to their customers, there are two choices: (1) Buy fish from sources that are certified as sustainable, or (2) Improve fisheries and move them towards certification.
By Wendy Goyert and Pablo Guerrero
Fishing for mahi mahi in Ecuador may look much like the artisanal craft it has been for decades, but practices on the water are very different than just a few years ago.
The U.S. government issued new regulations in December 2016 to restrict the import of seafood caught by vessels engaged in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. While the rule is a step in the right direction, it does not cover shrimp and abalone. World Wildlife Fund has urged that the rule be expanded to include them as soon as possible and, ultimately, all species. WWF’s fact sheet on the IUU regulation provides an overview on how the rules are changing, what it means for the seafood industry, and the benefits that companies can expect as a result.