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CEOs of world’s leading seafood companies commit to time-bound goals for a healthy ocean

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

For the first time in the history of seafood production, ten of the largest seafood companies in the world have committed to a set of time-bound and measurable goals that will ensure the industry becomes more sustainable. The goals are the result of four years of dialogues through the science-industry initiative Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS).

“SeaBOS is rising to the challenge,” said newly elected Chair of SeaBOS, Therese Log Bergjord. “It’s time to face the facts – the situation is critical and we have to act. We can all do better. I hope more will follow our example to build momentum on the ocean stewardship agenda.”

The work of SeaBOS reflects and supports the recently launched ocean action agenda set by the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy which commits to the sustainable management of 100% of their national waters.

SeaBOS is a unique collaboration between scientists and seafood companies across the wild capture, aquaculture and feed production sectors. The collaboration has been coordinated by the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University. Together SeaBOS represents over 10% of the global seafood production and comprises over 600 subsidiary companies globally.

SeaBOS members include Maruha Nichiro Corporation, Nissui, Thai Union, Mowi, Dongwon Industries, Cermaq, Cargill Aqua Nutrition, Nutreco/Skretting, CP Foods and Kyokuyo. Key scientific partners are the Beijer Institute for Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, University of Lancaster and Stanford Centre for Ocean Solutions. The scientific work is funded by the Walton Family Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

During the October 2020 dialogue, the companies agreed on a number of goals to achieve their original commitments from 2016. By the end of 2021, the SeaBOS members will:

  • Eliminate IUU fishing and forced, bonded and child labor in its operations - and implement measures to address those issues in their supply chains – with public reporting on progress in 2022 and 2025.
  • Extend the collaboration with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to solve the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear and combine to clean up plastics pollution from coasts and waterways.
  • Agree on a strategy for reducing impacts on endangered species and the use of antibiotics.
  • Set CO2 emissions reduction goals and reporting approaches from each company.

These goals will guide SeaBOS activities over the coming years and are accompanied by toolkits for action. The SeaBOS members acknowledge that climate change is having a significant impact on seafood production and that they can all do their share – through their own emission reduction targets and advocacy for implementation of the Paris Agreement. The members highlighted the need for government regulations to support sustainable fisheries and aquaculture management, to effectively mitigate climate change risks and impacts and provide for “climate-smart” seafood production.

The work of SeaBOS is advanced through six different task forces, each led by companies in collaboration with, and supported by scientists to identify, test and scale solutions related to challenges faced in the seafood industry. (1) Addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and forced labor, (2) Communications, (3) Working with governments to improve regulations, (4) Transparency and governance of SeaBOS, (5) Reducing plastic in seafood supply chains and (6) Climate resilience.

“The leaders of the seafood industry have taken action to support the health of fish stocks and the ocean ecosystems we all depend on. With governments now sharing this vision, we hope that transformational change is imminent,” said Henrik Österblom, science director for the Stockholm Resilience Center, and one of the instigators for the development of SeaBOS.

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