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FishWise Visits StarKist in American Samoa

Created on Saturday, 03 December 2016

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Photo Credit: Elsie Tanadjaja

In November and December of 2015, FishWise staff Mariah Boyle and Elsie Tanadjaja went on a trip to the South Pacific to learn more about tuna fisheries. Tuna is the third most consumed seafood in the U.S., with fresh and frozen offerings in steaks and sashimi along with the American staple of canned tuna. Tuna are impressive fish – they are large, migrate throughout the world’s oceans, and have specialized physiology to swim quickly and regulate their body temperatures. Mariah and Elsie visited several countries and many companies during their trip. One of these companies was StarKist, based in American Samoa.

StarKist has not only been a household name on the mainland, but has had a long history in American Samoa as well. Established in 1963, the StarKist cannery has become the largest private employer in American Samoa, representing approximately half of the island’s workforce. In fact, StarKist’s American Samoa cannery is the largest cannery in the world, producing over 60% of the island’s canned tuna. American Samoa plays a vital role in canned tuna production and the local economy depends on the canning industry in return.

StarKist’s parent company, Dongwon Industries based in South Korea, is one the world’s largest tuna processing companies with a forty-two vessel fleet. While visiting the facility, Mariah and Elsie were able to board one of company’s massive reefer carriers which stood three-stories tall!

Mariah and Elsie also had the opportunity to learn about StarKist’s efforts in sustainable and socially responsible fishing practices. As a founding member of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), StarKist works with ISSF scientists and industry members to support science-based conservation initiatives for the sustainability of tuna stocks and healthy ecosystems. StarKist also engages in multiple efforts to address potential risks for human trafficking and forced labor in its supply chains, such as contracting third-party audits of major suppliers for compliance in counter-human trafficking and anti-slavery laws.

FishWise would like to extend a warm ‘thank you’ to StarKist for their hospitality and for welcoming our staff to tour the facility and learn more about its operations. Gaining a better understanding of StarKist’s scale of operation and contributions to the local economy sheds light on the work we do at FishWise and continues a positive and forward-thinking dialogue on how important it is to continue implementing and improving upon tuna sustainability and traceability within the industry.

FishWise would like to extend a warm ‘thank you’ to StarKist for their hospitality and for welcoming our staff to tour the facility and learn more about its operations. Gaining a better understanding of StarKist’s scale of operation and contributions to the local economy sheds light on the work we do at FishWise and continues a positive and forward-thinking dialogue on how important it is to continue implementing and improving upon tuna sustainability and traceability within the industry.

FishWise Visits SolTuna in Solomon Islands

Created on Thursday, 01 December 2016

SolTuna blog picture

Photo Credit: Elsie Tanadjaja

In November and December of 2015, FishWise staff Mariah Boyle and Elsie Tanadjaja went on a trip to the South Pacific to learn more about tuna fisheries. Tuna is the third most consumed seafood in the U.S., with fresh and frozen offerings in steaks and sashimi along with the American staple of canned tuna. Tuna are impressive fish – they are large, migrate throughout the world’s oceans, and have specialized physiology to swim quickly and regulate their body temperatures. Mariah and Elsie visited several countries and many companies during their trip. One of these companies was SolTuna, based in the Solomon Islands.

Established in 1973, SolTuna is a shining example of a company owned and operated by the local community. The company focuses on economic equity, employing nearly 2,000 local residents and ensuring that most of the profits flow back into the Solomon Islands community. In 2014, SolTuna was awarded the prestigious Business of the Year by the Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, where he highlighted the company’s employment of women and promotion of food security for their families.

In July 2016, the Solomon Islands yellowfin and skipjack tuna harvested by pole-and-line and purse seine completed its Marine Stewardship Certification (MSC). Tri Marine, a partial owner of SolTuna, spearheaded the MSC accreditation along with its subsidiary, National Fisheries Developments (NFD). The group also completed its MSC Chain of Custody certification to promote product traceability throughout its supply chains.

This newly minted MSC certified fishery represents between 25,000 to 30,000 metric tons of yellowfin and skipjack tuna annually. Most of that haul is processed through SolTuna. While canned tuna is the primary product, SolTuna also processes frozen loins, fish meal, and fish oil. There is a strong regional market for SolTuna products as it is also a main contributor to the Solomon Islands’ food security.

Beyond the Solomon Islands, SolTuna products are exported regionally to Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand, with some loined tuna exported to European markets. Currently, SolTuna products are not available in the U.S., though the company has expressed interest – our team would be thrilled to see SolTuna’s Canned Chili Tuna on supermarket shelves!

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FishWise would like to extend a warm thank you to SolTuna for allowing our staff to tour their facility, learn about its traceability system, and for welcoming Mariah and Elsie to celebrate Christmas in the Pacific! Gaining a better understanding of SolTuna’s traceability systems and contribution to the local economy sheds light on the work we do at FishWise and continues a positive and forward-thinking dialogue on how important it is to continue implementing and improving upon tuna sustainability and traceability within the industry.

Press Release: FishWise Partner Sea Delight Announces Ambitious Traceability Policy

Created on Wednesday, 09 November 2016

 

FISHWISE PRESS RELEASE (PDF available here)

Santa Cruz, California, November 9, 2016.  As part of its ongoing efforts to continuously improve the quality, integrity, and environmental responsibility of its seafood products, FishWise distributor partner Sea Delight has announced a new Traceability Policy. “Sea Delight has proven itself as a leader in sustainable seafood,” states William Wall, Distributor Division Director at FishWise. Their new Traceability Policy represents a significant step forward for the company and raises the bar for seafood distributors everywhere in terms of progressive seafood traceability commitments.

The Traceability Policy expands Sea Delight’s existing Sustainable Seafood Policy to improve traceability and social responsibility for all seafood products the company procures, and emphasizes continual improvements within its own business practices and throughout the supply chains that Sea Delight works with. Building off Sea Delight’s previous traceability achievements and its ongoing collaboration with World Wildlife Fund, the Policy also includes time-bound commitments to improving data collection, ensuring effective implementation of on-the-ground traceability improvements in various fishery improvement projects (FIPs), and engaging in multi-stakeholder dialogues to improve seafood traceability and encourage industry collaboration. Incorporating recommendations from the Common Vision for Sustainable Seafood, Sea Delight will provide annual public updates on its progress towards these commitments.

“This is such an exciting moment for our company,” says Adriana Sanchez, Sustainability Director at Sea Delight. “We are setting an industry-leading precedent among North American seafood distributors by publicly committing to work towards best practices in traceability, address critical issues such as legality and social responsibility, and engage our supply chain partners in collaborative and long-lasting improvements.”

Progress on Sea Delight’s traceability and social responsibility commitments can be followed at http://www.sea-delight.com/traceability.html.

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 create trust between seafood vendors and their customers, enabling businesses to sell more sustainable seafood. For more information, please visit www.fishwise.org.

About Sea Delight
Sea Delight, LLC was founded in 2006 by Eugenio and Margarita Sanchez, the owners of ADS Seafood, LLC dba Atlantic Fisheries, as an initiative that sought to target the market of high quality frozen and fresh seafood products. Superior products, excellent customer service and our commitment to responsible business practices have grown Sea Delight, LLC, and its sister companies, into market leaders and international conservation specialists in the seafood industry today.

Media Contacts

FishWise
Bill Wall
Distributor Division Director
b.wall@fishwise.org

Sea Delight, LLC
Adriana Sanchez
Sustainability Director
adriana@sea-delight.com

Global Nutritional Security Depends on Adequate Fish Catches

Created on Thursday, 03 November 2016

nutrition-blog_photo-credit-susan-braunPhoto Credit: Susan Braun

With the global population predicted to increase to nearly ten billion people by 2050, the world faces the challenge of ensuring that global food systems can supply protein and nutritional value for the world’s people. Fish, and the nutrition it provides, is not only a critical component of global food security but of global nutritional security as well.

A recent article in Nature, “Nutrition: Fall in fish catch threatens human health,” highlights this critical connection between healthy fish catches and nutritional health for the global population, particularly poor populations in developing nations. Declining fish catches are anticipated to leave nearly 20% of the global population (over one billion people) vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies in critical micronutrients by 2050.

People with deficiencies in critical vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids may experience a variety of health risks, including increased mortality and compromised cognitive and immune function. As fish provides an excellent source of critical nutrients, declining global fisheries catches put the health of those that depend on fish as a primary food source at risk.

Key takeaways of the study include:

  • Ten percent of the world’s population (approximately 845 million people) may suffer nutritional deficiencies due to declining fish catches
  • Fish comprise over 20% of animal protein intake in certain parts of the world, therefore declining fish stocks threaten nutritional health for a significant portion of the global population
  • Climate change alone is predicted to reduce global fish catch by potentially 30% by 2050 in certain regions such as the tropics, disadvantaging the global south

 

Fishery catch declines will disproportionately affect the health of low-latitude and developing countries where nutrition depends most greatly on subsistence and artisanal wild fish catches. These are also areas where weak governance, industrialized foreign fishing, and illegal fishing threaten to have the most impact.

However, there are important steps that can be taken to address the issue of nutritional deficiency and declining fish catches:

  • Aquaculture farms can shift production to fish species low in the food chain and increase investment in farming nutritious species for domestic markets
  • Fisheries managers can improve ways to differentiate wild and aquaculture data
  • Fisheries and aquaculture scientists can collaborate with nutritional and public health experts and economists to address the impacts of global environmental change on human health and increase funding streams to this work

 

This study makes clear that the importance of good fisheries management extends beyond environmental reasons to include critical dimensions of social well-being. There is more work to be done to ensure the future nutritional health of populations dependent on fish around the world.

Press Release: FishWise Partner Albertsons Expands Responsible Seafood Program – “Top 20 by 2022”

Created on Tuesday, 01 November 2016

 

FISHWISE PRESS RELEASE (PDF available here.)

FishWise Partner Albertsons Companies Expands Responsible Seafood Program to Shelf-Stable Tuna and Sushi, Announces Ambitious “Top 20 by 2022″ Responsible Seafood Goal

Santa Cruz, California, November 1, 2016 – Setting a vision for sustainable seafood across 2,300+ stores in the U.S., FishWise retail partner Albertsons Companies announced today a new Responsible Seafood Policy. “We are proud of the Albertsons Companies,” states Ashley Greenley, Project Director at FishWise. “Their new Policy builds on the progress and momentum we achieved while partnering with Safeway and sets a high standard for the next generation of comprehensive retailer commitments.”

The Responsible Seafood Policy expands Albertsons Companies existing seafood program beyond fresh and frozen seafood to include shelf-stable tuna sold in the grocery department and sushi sold in the retailer’s delis. Based on recommendations from the Common Vision for Sustainable Seafood, the Policy also incorporates important elements in seafood sustainability, such as improving traceability in seafood supply chains, accounting for social responsibility, and engaging in initiatives that drive positive social, economic, and environmental outcomes in fisheries and aquaculture production.

In tandem with the new Policy, Albertsons Companies also announced an ambitious Top 20 by 2022 goal for their fresh and private-label frozen seafood, whereby 100% of the top 20 wild and farmed seafood products sold at Albertsons Companies will meet the Responsible Seafood Policy by year-end 2022. Excluding national brands, the new fresh and frozen commitment encompasses 94% (by volume) of fresh and frozen seafood. In coming months, FishWise will work closely with Albertsons Companies to establish similar time-bound goals for shelf-stable tuna and sushi, the newest seafood categories to be included in the Responsible Seafood Program.

“This is a pivotal moment for our company,” says Buster Houston, Group Director of Seafood at Albertsons Companies. “We’re setting the future course for our sustainability efforts and are demonstrating to the world our commitment to take on challenging issues in seafood, such as shelf-stable tuna, social responsibility, and traceability.”

 

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 create trust between seafood vendors and their customers, enabling businesses to sell more sustainable seafood, more profitably. For more information, please visit www.fishwise.org.

About Albertsons Companies

Albertsons Companies is one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States, with both a strong local presence and national scale. The company operates stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 19 well-known banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs. Albertsons Companies is dedicated to helping people across the country live better lives. In 2015 alone, with the help of generous customers, Albertsons Companies and the Albertsons Companies Foundation gave more than $270 million in food and financial support to the more than 2,300 communities they serve, improving the lives of millions of people in the areas of hunger relief, education, cancer research and treatment, programs for people with disabilities, and veterans outreach. Albertsons Companies is committed to making a meaningful difference, neighborhood by neighborhood.

 

Media Contacts

FishWise:

Meghan Frolli, Retail Division Director at FishWise

Email: m.frolli@fishwise.org
Phone: (831) 427-1707 ext. 114

Albertsons Companies:

Teena Massingill, Director of Corporate Public Affairs

Email: teena.massingill@albertsons.com

Phone: (925) 226-5820

Sampling Sustainability at Sea Delight Ocean Fund Event

Created on Thursday, 27 October 2016

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To kick off National Seafood Month in October, FishWise was honored to participate in our partner Sea Delight’s 3rd Annual Taste of the Sea event on October 1 at the Gallery of Amazing Things in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida!

Designed to celebrate sustainable seafood and benefit fishery improvement projects (FIPs) supported by the Sea Delight Ocean Fund, the Taste of the Sea event boasted mouth-watering culinary sampling, educational outreach from marine conservation and research organizations including FishWise, and a live chef cook-off.

Fourteen celebrity chefs, many of whom have been featured on Food Network competition shows such as “Chopped” and “Cutthroat Kitchen,” used Sea Delight-sourced seafood from FIPs or Monterey Bay Aquarium Green and Yellow-rated sources to put forward their best dishes to over 350 event attendees. The dishes ranged from a smoked mahi dip with hot pickled vegetables using longline-caught mahi from the Peru FIP to seared grouper with Buerre blanc using longline-caught grouper from the Campeche Bank, Mexico FIP.

Guests voted for their “Fan Favorite,” a title swept up this year by Latin House Grill’s Chef Michell Sanchez for his Puffy Poke Taco, featuring marinated handline-caught yellowfin tuna from WWF’s Vietnam FIP with avocado, candied jalapeño, fried onions, and chipotle aioli nestled in a flash fried flour tortilla—YUM!

In the live cook-off, six of the chefs were challenged to use mystery ingredients of octopus, marshmallows, plums, and canned chipotle to whip together a dish in short order. Chef Adrienne Grenier of 3030 Ocean took home the top prize.

FishWise had the opportunity to speak to guests about a range of seafood sustainability topics throughout the night, starting with foundational questions about what “sustainability” means all the way through the specific fishery improvement projects being presented at the event and how Sea Delight and FishWise work to advance such important efforts.

We continue to be proud to partner with such a progressive company as Sea Delight and look forward to future events!

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FishWise Travels to Guangzhou China for the Annual GOAL Conference

Created on

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In late September, Bill Wall travelled to Guangzhou, China to attend the 16th annual Global Outlook on Aquaculture Leadership (GOAL) conference organized by the Global Aquaculture Alliance. Held at the White Swan Hotel, on the banks of the mighty Pearl River, the conference was billed as an opportunity to learn, network and connect producers and suppliers to the marketplace and this year’s event was no exception.

So-called “Day 0” was focused on the ongoing importance of fish-meal and fish-oil to the aquaculture industry, and the quest for more responsible sources of both. Panelists discussed the potential of raw material certified by organizations like IFFO and MSC, as well as the growing number of FIPs tied to the production of these key marine ingredients. More novel sources of feed components such as processor by-products and terrestrial vegetables were also discussed. You can read GAA’s summary of the day here.

The theme for the first formal day of programming was “healthy fish” and highlighted the latest scientific findings, innovative technologies and tested solutions for maintaining animal health. This issue consistently ranks as the number one challenge facing those in the aquaculture industry and the packed auditorium and rapid notetaking was a testament to this fact. You can read GAA’s summary of the day here.

The second day of the conference centered around the topic of “healthy people” and moved beyond the well-known physical health benefits of seafood to tackle the larger, more recently exposed issue of social responsibility and human rights. Given the largeness and complexity of the topic, more questions were asked than answered on the day, but key takeaways around the need to map the true extent of the problem and envisaging what a seafood supply chain free of human rights and labor issues would look like hit home amongst all in attendance. You can read GAA’s summary of the day here.

“Healthy planet,” the theme for the final day of the conference, highlighted the importance of innovation, capital investment and overall collaboration in order satisfy the growing demand for protein worldwide while simultaneously limiting negative impacts on the environment. Special attention was also given to the need to manage and ideally reduce complexity, especially when it comes to certifications, to ensure that consumers aren’t turned off seafood altogether. You can read GAA’s summary of the day here.

The packed session schedule, not to mention the well-organized social events and site visits made for a fantastic week for those who attended. Bring on Dublin 2017!

FisheryProgress.org Launch Makes Improvement Project Sourcing Easier

Created on Tuesday, 25 October 2016

 

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The number of fishery improvement projects (FIPs) globally has grown dramatically, yet there has been no central place to find information about them and no common yardstick for measuring their progress. However, that will change this week with the launch of FisheryProgress.org.

FisheryProgress.org is a one-stop shop for information on the progress of global fishery improvement projects. It makes tracking progress more efficient, consistent, and reliable for businesses that support FIPs. The website will make it easier for FIPs to showcase their progress to potential buyers and for businesses to find FIPs that meet their sustainable seafood commitments.

The site, a collaboration between the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions and FishChoice, gives users all the information they need to make decisions about whether FIPs meet their sourcing policy. Users can search for FIPs or browse a full list of all the FIPs on the site. For each FIP, users will start with a progress snapshot and can easily access workplan details and supporting documentation if they need more information.

FisheryProgress.org users can trust the information they find on the site because it’s all verified regularly. FisheryProgress.org staff conduct an initial review of information when a FIP requests to be included in the site to confirm that the FIP meets the Conservation Alliance’s guidelines, which serve as the foundation for the site. In addition, staff review each FIP’s progress reports once a year to ensure the information is accurate.

Interested in learning more? Join a webinar to learn more about the site features and how you can create an account. The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 3 from 2-3pm ET/11am-12pm PT, and you can RSVP by emailing Liz Kieffer (liz@springboard.partners).

Learn more about the site at www.FisheryProgress.org and contact Kristin Sherwood (kristin@fishchoice.com) with any questions.

Enforcing the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act

Created on Friday, 21 October 2016

7889329502_b4c6171d98_o-copyPhoto credit: Ethan Lucas

Earlier this year, President Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. This legislation closed the loophole in the Tariff Act of 1930 in order to bar products made abroad by convict, forced, or child labor from entering U.S. supply chains.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently released information on how it will enforce these recent updates to trade law. CBP’s enforcement includes a petition system for suspected noncompliance, a set timeline of procedures for investigating goods suspected of being associated with forced labor or other trade evasions, and annual progress reports to Congress. CBP’s enforcement of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act is particularly important for U.S. companies importing seafood and international suppliers exporting seafood into the U.S.

To assist companies in understanding these trade and enforcement updates, FishWise has drafted a briefing document on this issue, that you can view here. The briefing summarizes current knowledge regarding CBP’s enforcement of recent trade laws and tips to assist businesses in remaining complaint.

For more information on this brief and recent trade legislation, please contact info@fishwise.org.

FishWise visits Tri Marine in American Samoa

Created on Wednesday, 05 October 2016

 

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Photo credit: Eleanor Partridge

In November and December of 2015, FishWise staff Mariah Boyle and Elsie Tanadjaja took a trip to the South Pacific to learn more about tuna fisheries and processing facilities. Tuna are impressive fish – they’re large, migrate across and between the world’s oceans, and fetch some of the highest market prices for a seafood product. Tuna is also the third most consumed seafood in this country, behind shrimp and salmon, with fresh and frozen tuna steaks and sashimi being sold alongside the American staple of canned tuna. During this trip, Mariah and Elsie had the privilege of visiting several countries and companies, one of which was Tri Marine based in American Samoa, a small island territory in the South Pacific Ocean. This small island developing territory is one of world’s major tuna processors and is one of the most important commercial fishing ports under the U.S. flag.

Working with other businesses, governments, and regulators for increasing sustainability of tuna resources, Tri Marine has grown into one of the world’s largest tuna supply companies. The company is unique in that is in involved in all stages of the tuna supply chain – fishing, trading, processing, and marketing – and has developed a long standing investment in strong sustainability and traceability standards. As of June, 2016, Tri Marine’s fleet of ten American Samoa-based tuna purse seiners have become MSC certified.

Visiting Tri Marine’s new, state-of-the-art processing facility, Samoa Tuna Processors (STP) was impressive. Opening in January 2014, the space covers nearly 40,000 square feet with capacity to store over 5,000 tons of tuna. Mariah and Elsie were able to tour the facility which houses high tech traceability systems to track tuna from vessel to can, strengthening the traceability of Tri Marine’s products as well as the ability to fulfill private label orders. Tri Marine’s advances in traceability can be seen in its Ocean Naturals products that only source responsibly caught tuna. Consumers can enter codes found on their cans or pouches of tuna into Ocean Natural’s website to learn more about the origins of their tuna. An added benefit to the state of the art facility is the ability for fish that are received directly from Tri Marine’s fleet of vessels to be sized and separated by species before being processed by the local plant.

Sustainability for Tri Marine touches on more than just the environment. Tri Marine’s new canning facility, Samoa Tuna Processors, was a collaboration between the tuna company and the local community. This investment is a demonstration of Tri Marine’s commitment on sustainability, quality, community, and collaboration. Beyond the ability of the cannery to process upwards of 1 million cans of tuna each day, it can provide employment to 1,500 local community members. American Samoa’s economy is dependent on the tuna canning industry and Tri Marine’s new facility, which filled a large economic void left behind after Chicken of the Sea’s Samoa Packing closed its doors in 2009.

Tri Marine prides itself on placing a high standard on generating employment and improving the standard of living for its employees, and the STP facility is no exception. By investing in regions close to fisher’s resources and establishing strong relationships with local communities and its members, stakeholders can better manage the local marine resources and ensure that the benefits are captured by the American Samoan community members, their families, and local government.

FishWise would like to extend a warm thank you to Tri Marine for allowing our staff to spend a few days touring their impressive facility as well as their purse seine tuna fishing vessels. Getting a better understanding of Tri Marine’s traceability systems sheds light on the work we do at FishWise and continues a positive and forward-thinking dialogue on how important it is to continue implementing and improving upon tuna sustainability and traceability within the industry.