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.
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.
We humans aren’t the only animals that think lobster are a tasty treat. Dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles do, too. These spiny crustaceans are a critical link in the food chain that keep our oceans healthy.
And that’s why the work of Mia Isaacs is so important. As president of the Bahamas Marine Exporters Association and managing director of Heritage Seafood, a leading lobster processor, Mia is working with her fellow exporters, fishermen, the Bahamian government, and international NGOs like World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy to ensure lobsters are fished sustainably.
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.
The first option delivers sustainable products immediately and rewards suppliers that already prioritize environmental performance. The second option is more challenging, but it also increases the number of sustainable fisheries overall—a benefit for the entire seafood industry and its customers, not to mention the oceans and the diverse life it supports.
In 2013, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Bumble Bee began collaborating on a project that takes both approaches to sustainable sourcing
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.
Kien Giang province is nestled in the southwest of Vietnam, featuring a prominent coastline along the Gulf of Thailand. Here in these tepid waters lives the blue swimming crab, a crustacean with an olive-green body and front claws the color of the sky on a clear day.
By all accounts, Glenn Pritchard and Mia Isaacs should be rivals. They each own a seafood processing plant and exporting company in The Bahamas, and both stake a claim to the lucrative spiny lobster business. Their products reach restaurants at home and massive markets in North America, Europe, and Asia.
But one unmatched necessity brings these two competitors together without a second thought: a healthy and robust lobster population in Bahamian waters.