Picture this: it’s summertime and you are enjoying a plate of Old Bay-smothered crab cakes at a seaside restaurant in Maryland. You might assume that the crab meat on your plate was sourced locally, considering the blue crab is a well-known Maryland symbol, and a powerful icon of much of the mid-Atlantic region. Pre-1990s, that assumption would most likely be correct. The Chesapeake blue crab fishery was the most valuable fishery in the Bay at the time and it met most of the demand for the species in the region. In fact, until the 1990s, most crab meat consumed in the United States came from domestic sources. This all changed when the major domestic blue crab fisheries, like those in the Chesapeake Bay, were overfished to the brink of collapse – in large part due to a lack of sustainable fishery management.
Southern Chile’s pristine waters also support one of the largest farmed-salmon production hubs, supplying almost a third of all farmed salmon globally. The salmon industry in Chile employs more than 70,000 people with annual exports of more than $4 billion USD.
Seafood farming, or aquaculture, is one solution to help meet growing consumer demand for seafood products as 93% of wild fish stocks are fished to capacity or overfished and no longer able to support higher catches. Aquaculture may help alleviate pressure on wild fisheries, but farming practices can pose threats – like sea lice, microbial infections, antibiotic discharge, and other diseases – to delicately-balanced surrounding environments if operations are not managed responsibly.
The good news is that by implementing best practices seafood farming can be done more safely and with less impact on the environment and on local communities and workers.
On February 18, 2019, WWF-Mexico hosted its first Sustainable Seafood Roundtable. The event, held at the Hyatt Regency in Mexico City, brought together representatives from across the full seafood supply chain, from fishermen to distributors, and end-market buyers such as Hyatt, Hilton, and Iberostar hospitality groups to explore the opportunities for, and barriers to, sourcing sustainable, responsible seafood in Mexico.
By: Elizabeth Herendeen, Guest Contributor
Bristol Bay is home to the largest wild sockeye salmon run in the world, producing nearly half of the world’s sockeye salmon supply. These fish and the pristine waters they swim through are an irreplaceable resource for both the American and Alaskan economies. Bristol Bay’s salmon generate over $1.5 billion in economic activity and support 20,000 jobs; these jobs spur the growth of other industries, including shipping, reprocessing, and retail.
The 2018 commercial fishing season was one of the most profitable in recorded history for the fishermen of Bristol Bay, with more than 62 million salmon harvested. In an average year, Bristol Bay produces more than 40% of Alaska’s salmon and is responsible for 1 billion servings of wild, sustainable protein annually, generating additional revenue for restaurants, retailers, and others in the seafood supply chain.
Today, Bristol Bay’s intact ecosystem and sustainable economy are threatened by the proposed Pebble gold and copper mine.
Today, nearly 93% of fisheries around the globe are overfished or fished to their ecological limit. The status of global fish stocks presents a major cause for concern, as we strive to feed the appetite of a growing population while also protecting our planet’s natural resources.
At World Wildlife Fund (WWF), working with multinational businesses around the world helps to drive more sustainable food systems that both conserve nature and feed humanity. Currently, WWF is partnered with over 100 leading companies, globally, working to transition seafood supply chains to become more sustainable, responsible and traceable. Hospitality is a global market – and hotels provide a unique opportunity to support local fisheries and the communities where properties are embedded. That’s why we’ve partnered with Iberostar Hotels & Resorts to continue to propel the global hotelier towards a more responsible, sustainable seafood supply chain that also supports local communities transitioning to more responsible, sustainable practices.
By: Christine Leong and Tal Viskin, Guest Contributors
When it comes to agriculture, what you don’t know can hurt you. That’s why companies are beginning to use blockchain technology to trace food products—notably, seafood, beef, and soy—back to their source. But, according to Accenture’s new report titled “Tracing the Supply Chain: How Blockchain Can Enable Traceability in the Food Industry,” using the technology well takes careful planning and wide collaboration.
In 2009, Sysco Corporation – one of the largest purchasers of seafood in North America – began working with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to assess and improve the sustainability of its seafood supply chain. Through this collaboration, Sysco committed in 2011 to source its top 10 Portico® brand (Sysco’s own seafood brand) frozen and further-processed wild-caught seafood species from fisheries that were either certified to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard, in full assessment for MSC certification or engaged in a comprehensive Fishery Improvement Project (FIP), by 2015.
Continuing its alliance with WWF, in 2016, Sysco committed to further improve the sustainability of its seafood procurement through 2020, incorporating additional elements to guide its seafood procurement practices and standards.
Most seafood consumers agree: to protect the health of our oceans, we should only consume seafood that comes from sustainable sources. However, the sustainable choice isn’t always clear. To build customer awareness, Kroger – a family of companies serving over nine million customers every day – launched an in-store campaign to highlight sustainable seafood.
Since 2009, Kroger has partnered with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to guide their sustainable seafood initiative, particularly for wild-caught seafood.
Last month, The Bahamas’ spiny lobster fishery became the first Caribbean fishery to achieve Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, meeting the leading environmental standard for wild-caught seafood.
The Bahamas certification was a major milestone and charts a path for other spiny lobster fisheries exporting product around the world. Building on this success, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has partnered with Red Lobster, the world’s largest seafood restaurant company and largest restaurant purchaser of seafood, to help improve the environmental sustainability of spiny lobster fisheries in Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize and Brazil
Ecuador’s mahi mahi fishery is one of the country’s most valuable artisanal fisheries and products are primarily exported to the United States. Mahi mahi are also critical to the overall health of the marine environment, providing nutrition not just for people but for wildlife as well.
The Ecuadorian mahi mahi fishery is vast and productive, but prior to 2010, there was no ongoing science that industry and government could rely on to determine the overall health of the local fish stock. A size limit to ensure juveniles are not being caught was in place, but there was no control over its application, no meaningful monitoring program, and no management plan to back it up. To promote a sustainable future for this critical fishery, Ecuador’s undersecretary of fisheries resources, in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), launched the Ecuador Mahi Mahi Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) in 2010.
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