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Quixotic Farming: Expansion for Missouri tilapia farm in full swing

Created on Thursday, 26 May 2016

QF Tanks 1

Quixotic Farming, a family-owned, sustainable seafood company that raises traceable, United States tilapia, has begun its expansion of its Missouri farm by purchasing 27 new fish tanks for the facility.

The first load of new tanks was delivered on May 4th to Quixotic Farming’s Missouri facility located at the south end of Chillicothe in a once-vacant Wal-Mart building. This farm is already home to approximately 250,000 tilapia that live in 33 ten thousand gallon tanks. Each tank is equipped with its own filtration and recirculation system, which allows Quixotic Farming to sustainably reuse the water that fills each tank.

By adding the 27 new tanks, Quixotic will increase its water capacity by 250,000 gallons. The farm will be able to hold approximately 200,000 more fish.

“The additional tanks should increase our production by about 70 percent,” says Randy Constant, Founder and CEO.

Right now, the company ships all of its fish to its second farm location in Colorado to be processed. But with the added tanks and water capacity in Chillicothe, the company has a new goal in mind: to open a second processing facility in Missouri.

“The goal is to expand in Missouri and reach the size of our Colorado facility so that it makes sense to process in both locations,” says Constant.

By Wednesday, May 11th, the remainder of the new tanks were delivered to the Chillicothe farm. The tanks will be setup and ready to house fish by the end of the summer. At that point, the Wal-Mart building will be at half capacity. According to Constant, the hope is to fill the rest of the building with tanks in the next 18 months, at which point, the Missouri facility would be complete.

Meet Erin Taylor

Created on Wednesday, 25 May 2016

 

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Hello there! I’m Erin Taylor, and I am thrilled to have recently joined the FishWise team as a Project Manager in the newly formed Distributor Division. I’ll be helping to support the division’s work by co-managing new and existing partnerships with seafood distributors—some of the most critical players for achieving progress in seafood sustainability.

I hail from the great landlocked state of Iowa, which is seemingly a paradox given my current engagement in marine affairs. However, I owe my initial passion for the oceans simply to the many aquarium visits made on various childhood family road trips. Knowing I wanted to pursue marine-focused studies, I traded cornfields for coast and transplanted to Boston. I completed my Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Analysis and Policy with a minor in Business Administration and Management at Boston University, but not before bringing my aquarium-inspired journey full circle by beginning to work with the New England Aquarium in 2010. Through collaboration with both BU and the Aquarium, I focused all of my independent studies and grant-funded research on the oceans, with projects ranging from historic whaling in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area to chemical analysis of squid pens.

After graduating, I joined the Aquarium full-time as a wild fisheries specialist within their Sustainable Seafood Program. This role gave me the opportunity to dive head first into nearly every aspect of seafood sustainability—but the aspect I enjoyed most was collaborating with diverse stakeholders, from industry, to environmental NGOs, to policymakers, to scientists, to try to find viable solutions for often vastly divergent perspectives. This work helped me appreciate folks in the middle of the supply chain in particular, as they are so often key stakeholders for addressing tough sustainability issues, but they have their own unique challenges to balance. To this end, I am ecstatic to join FishWise to focus more specifically on serving this group and further advance the state of seafood sustainability with such innovative partnerships.

When I’m not studying fish, I focus on taking advantage of my new California residence to try to be a fish: whether it be scuba diving, surfing, kayaking, sea glassing, or good old fashioned swimming, as long as water is involved, I’m in.

It’s About to Get Harder to Bring Illegally Harvested Fish to Market

Created on Monday, 23 May 2016

PSMA goes into effect_Wiki Commons_Jacopo Werther

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons, Jacopo Werther

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently announced that the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) – one of most important international treaties to date for combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing – will enter into force on June 5. This means that vessels suspected of IUU activity will face a greater risk of detection and refusal at ports in 29 nations, plus those in the European Union.

The agreement was adopted by the FAO in 2009, but required the ratification of 25 nations before it could go into effect. This month, the minimum requirement of 25 nations was exceeded, as six additional nations – Dominica, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan, Thailand, Tonga, and Vanuatu – ratified the agreement, bringing the total to 30 participating nations. The nations that have joined together to support the PSMA range in terms of geographical size, economic strength, and level of development; demonstrating that IUU fishing is detrimental to all within the global seafood market.

IUU fishing is a global threat to ecosystems, stock management, coastal communities, and the economy, and it has been linked to organized crime and human rights abuses aboard vessels. It’s estimated that 11 – 26 million tons of seafood is illegally harvested or unreported worldwide every year, accounting for 1 in 5 wild-caught marine fish. This undermines the conservation and management efforts of fish stocks, and annually adds up to between $10 – 23.5 billion dollars that’s taken from legally operating government fleets and private fishermen.

The PSMA is aimed at strengthening and aligning port controls for foreign-flagged vessels, in an effort to prevent IUU product from passing through ports undetected and entering the legal seafood market. Participating nations commit to adopting strict regulations for overseeing vessels attempting to land catch in their ports, and they agree to refuse ships suspected of IUU activity. The idea is that if a vessel is held for fisheries violations or has to avoid certain ports it costs the captain time, fuel, product freshness, and fishing opportunities, making carrying IUU product less profitable. Further, at-sea enforcement is a costly and dangerous undertaking, and some governments lack the resources to properly monitor their waters and overseas fleets. By comparison, port controls are an effective but less resource intensive tool to combat IUU fishing, as those with the resources to monitor at-sea can track vessels suspected of IUU activity and alert the port states who apprehend and prosecute those responsible from the safety of land.

Some of the port controls that the PSMA grants ratifying nations are:

  • Captains must provide advance notice of their arrival in port
  • Captains must provide information such as the vessel registration details, fishing licenses, catch totals, catch origins, and what it intends to offload
  • Documentation is evaluated for validity, and port officials have the option to contact the vessel’s flag state for information verification and inspect the catch
  • If inspections lead port officials to suspect IUU catch, then the vessel can be refused entry into port, held for further inspection, or cargo can be seized
  • Port officials have the authority to detain and sanction captains suspected of IUU fishing
  • If a vessel suspected of IUU fishing is denied entry into port, officials can contact neighboring ports to warn them of their suspicions and the vessels potential entry into their port

 

To truly stop IUU fishing and prevent IUU product from simply being redirected to other nations, it’s necessary that all port countries ratify the PSMA. Additional nations have shown support for the PSMA by signing the treaty or have initiated ratification, indicating that the PSMA’s reach will soon be expanding. In addition to the PSMA, other collaborative efforts to fight IUU fishing are critical. Smaller regional efforts such as the Central America Fisheries and Aquaculture Organization (OSPESCA) and Fish-i Africa are successful demonstrations of poorer nations with rich fishing grounds cooperating and sharing resources to combat IUU fishing in their waters.

The PSMA benefits every member in seafood supply chains, from fishermen, processor, to consumer, as it helps deter criminal competition and ensure seafood purchasers that their products have been legally harvested. FishWise is proud that our partners Albertsons Companies, Hy-Vee, Sea Delight, and Santa Monica Seafood, and SeaPact members Ipswich Shellfish Group and Seattle Fish Co. showed foresight and leadership in seafood sustainability and urged the U.S. Senate to pass S. 1334: Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015 which helped lead to the U.S. ratification of the PSMA.

To learn more about ways to address IUU fishing, visit the FishWise Traceability & IUU Fishing Resources page.

 

From Catch to Consumer: A Summary of WWF’s Traceability Principles for Wild-Caught Fish Products

Created on Thursday, 19 May 2016

 

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Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing costs companies, fishermen, and consumers alike. Often coming from fisheries lacking strong and effective management measures, IUU fishing takes many shapes and forms, including activities such as violating catch quotas, misreporting catch information, fishing in marine protected areas, and has been linked to human rights abuses in seafood supply chains. Beyond the environmental and social devastation, the economic impact of IUU fishing is staggering – financial losses due to illegal fishing activities have been estimated to range between $10-23.5 billion annually.

To address these issues and help mitigate risks, companies are increasingly implementing traceability into their business policies, procurement guidelines, and business practices. There are many efforts across both the private sector and government that are seeking to improve supply chain transparency and implement robust traceability systems for the seafood industry. To help guide private and public sector stakeholders in implementing traceability systems and enabling transparency in wild-caught seafood supply chains, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) crafted a set of principles that outlines characteristics of effective wild-caught seafood traceability systems. While this set of six principles is not all inclusive, it can be viewed as a framework for the effective and successful implementation of traceability systems in wild-caught seafood supply chains.

Principle 1 – Essential Information

The backbone of effective traceability systems is the information they collect. For traceability to be effective, information must be collected, recorded, and follow the product throughout every step in the supply chain. While information can vary depending on the source fishery, basic key data elements (KDEs) – the pieces of information that establish the ‘who, what, when, where, and how’ of seafood products – are essential no matter which system is used. This information can be used to trace the fish from catch to consumer to ensure that wild-caught fish are from legal and verifiable sources, and in accordance with national and international laws. The more information collected, the better companies can mitigate the risk of IUU product entering their supply chains.

Principle 2 – Full Chain Traceability

While collecting information is a valuable first step, traceability systems should provide ‘full chain’ traceability from the point the product was harvested to the point of final sale. At any step along the supply chain, whether at a distributer, wholesaler, or grocery store counter, information should be readily available to verify legality of a product. To be ‘full chain traceable,’ traceability systems must provide access to information about a product in all of its forms, across every step in the supply chain, and have the ability to be accessed when necessary. This does not mean, however, that confidential information be accessible to all players in the supply chain, but rather that the authorized parties have the critical pieces of information available to trace a product back through all stages of handling.

Principle 3 – Effective Tracking of Product Transformations

Seafood is often transformed, being combined with other products, processed, reconfigured, or re-packaged as evidenced by the many different forms of seafood products on the market. When seafood undergoes processing, it’s important to record those product transformations to ensure legality up to the final point of sale, avoid mislabeling of species, and prevent comingling of legal and illegal products. It is also important to track products (which may have been harvested from multiple fishing activities or fisheries) with sufficient identification and tracking of all inputs so that at the final point of sale, those products can be traced back to their origin or at least to a limited set of possible sources or fishing activities.

Principle 4 – Digital Information and Standardized Data Formats

Electronic recording of data, labelling, and tracking in standard data formats from point of harvest to point of final sale is crucial to verifying claims of legality and sustainability. WWF believes that even at small scales, these kinds of systems are within reach of commercial fishers, and should be a high priority for all traceability systems. Ideally, this push for electronic traceability systems would be lead by industry and establish minimum international requirements for better harmonization and interoperability across entire supply chains.

Principle 5 – Verification

For claims of full chain traceability to be validated, companies must employ credible and transparent internal and external verification or auditing, as well as effective government oversight and enforcement. Supply chain actors can be influential by adopting and publicly communicating their standards and policies for how they will increase transparency and implement traceability in their own supply chains.

Principle 6 – Transparency and Public Access to Information

A fundamental outcome of implementing full chain traceability is the ability for consumers and stakeholders to ultimately have access to information that helps them make well-informed, responsible choices. Traceability systems should emphasize maximum transparency, while not exposing confidential information. Governments and enforcement agencies can also use this information to ensure compliance with national and international laws.

In all, these six principles are intended as goal statements to be used as a benchmark to address concerns related to IUU fishing and to help guide stakeholders in establishing and improving their traceability systems. Traceability is just one tool among others (such as risk assessments, third party certifications, or audits) that businesses can use to combat IUU fishing and ensure transparency within their seafood supply chains.

You can find the entirety of WWF’s Traceability Principles for Wild-Caught Fish Products here. To learn more about traceability in seafood supply chains, visit the FishWise Traceability Resources Page.

Sea Delight Ocean Fund to Receive Additional Funding for FIPs

Created on Wednesday, 27 April 2016

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Sea Delight International, with its Subsidiaries Sea Delight Canada and Sea Delight Europe, signed Memorandum of Understanding with Coral Sea Fishing Pty Limited in Australia, Part of the SOS Resources Group, to cooperate in the supply of Tasteless Smoke treated seafood products to Australia and New Zealand. Coral Sea Fishing holds the respective patents, technologies, intellectual property and rights to import, sell and trade Tasteless Smoke, Flavorless smoke and Filtered smoke treated seafood products in Australia and New Zealand.

“This new partnership opens up opportunities to develop new markets in Australia and New Zealand for Filtered Smoke treated seafood products, and Sea Delight will be able to provide technical assistance for the use of this innovative process as well as provide treated raw material to Coral Sea Fishing via our existing supply network,” says Eugenio Sanchez, Sea Delight President. “What is more, through this partnership we also share a common vision for sustainable seafood. Coral Sea Fishing has agreed to provide a financial contribution per pound to the Sea Delight Ocean Fund, Inc. on all imported product so that they may continue supporting Fishery Improvement Projects where this raw material is being sourced from,” says Sanchez.

“This is a partnership built on mutual goals. Collectively we have a very large and capable supply network all using the Flavorless, Tasteless Filtered Smoke Technology. Together we are working on delivering high quality seafood products to our markets using natural shelf life extension processes derived from organics. Our shared vision for sustainable seafood will ensure this is a win-win partnership, for seafood resources and our customers,” says Sean Cauchois, Director for Coral Sea Fishing Australia.

Read more about the Sea Delight Ocean Fund here.

 

Closing the Legal Loophole for Slavery in U.S. Supply Chains

Created on Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Slavery Legislation Blog_Eleanor Partridge

Photo credit: Eleanor Partridge

In February, President Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 644)—a crucial step towards preventing modern slavery in global supply chains. The amendment closed the loophole in the Tariff Act of 1930, which previously did not bar products made abroad by convict, forced, or indentured labor if American domestic production did not meet demand. While plans for enforcing the act have yet to be announced, the mere signing of the act places seafood companies in a different regulatory environment.

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 is the most recent step in a series of actions from U.S. and foreign government, federal agencies, and international trade unions to protect the marine environment and human rights in the seafood industry. Other actions include the ratification of the Port State Measures Agreement which allows officials to prohibit foreign vessels suspected of illegal fishing from receiving port services and access, and NOAA’s seafood traceability program which will require seafood importers to document the supply chains of certain species from catch to arrival in the U.S.

FishWise has drafted a briefing document on this issue, that you can view here. The briefing summarizes the Act and explains why it is important to seafood companies.

For more information on traceability and human rights in seafood supply chains, please refer to the FishWise page on that topic. Our human rights resources page also offers access to informative reports, guidelines, blogs, meeting summaries, and other resources. FishWise will continue to update these pages to reflect the latest services and resources available.

Meet Jen Cole

Created on Monday, 25 April 2016

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Hello FishWise readers! I’m Jen, one of the newest members of the FishWise team. I work as a Project Manager in the Traceability Division, focusing on improving business practices that protect human and labor rights within the seafood industry.

My passion for marine conservation began at an early age, when I would fish with my uncles and snorkel outside my family home in Guam. I then received my Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in biology from Stanford University, focusing my studies on kelp forest ecology and the social-ecological systems of small-scale fisheries. Inspired by the conservation work of organizations like the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, I began working in philanthropy where I advised foundations on how to maximize the effectiveness of their giving and work with their grantees.

My love for the ocean and the people connected to it brought me to my current role at FishWise, where I’m excited to work with such an inspiring group of people. I’m looking forward to helping FishWise and its partners support sustainability through environmentally and socially responsible business practices.

FishWise at the Boston Seafood Expo – Tools for Businesses to Understand and Prevent Human Rights Abuses

Created on Friday, 22 April 2016

 

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Photo credit: Mariah Boyle

Government actions to prevent human trafficking and labor abuses—in the United States and around the globe—have increased since 2000, as has media coverage and public interest. Acts such as the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and the UK Modern Slavery Act now require corporations to publicly disclose what measures they are taking to prevent human trafficking in their own supply chains. In addition to a legislative focus on anti-human trafficking, public scrutiny has also increased. The Guardian, Associated Press, and The New York Times have all published reports focusing on trafficking and forced labor in the seafood industry. As media scrutiny of human rights abuses in global supply chains increases, it is important to tap into the growing government, industry, and public awareness of these issues. Working collectively towards solutions will enable businesses to better understand and support human rights in their supply chains.

At the North America Seafood Expo, FishWise joined representatives from Humanity United, Verité, and Seafish to discuss the latest tools for understanding human rights risks in the seafood sector’s supply chains. A few of the key tools discussed during the Seafood Expo session “New Tools for Seafood Businesses to Understand Human Rights Risks and Improve Social Compliance” are listed below.

Responsible Fishing Scheme

Seafish recently launched a new UK Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS). The RFS is a voluntary program which certifies vessels and their skipper for high standards of crew welfare and responsible catching practices. The program includes standards for auditing responsible and ethical practices on board fishing vessels, and helps businesses to confirm that socially responsible practices are in place on vessels—one of the least visible parts of the seafood supply chain.

Social Responsibility Risk Assessment

In addition to the Responsible Fishing Scheme, Seafish is partnering with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program to develop a tool for assessing risks related to social responsibility in fisheries. The tool will use public domain information to analyze risk for the “at sea” portion of wild-caught fisheries’ seafood supply chains. The tool’s launch will be especially exciting for businesses, marking the first publicly available assessment of social responsibility for fisheries.

Responsible Sourcing Tool

In a few weeks, Verité and the Department of State will launch a responsible sourcing tool which will provide modes for how businesses can cascade responsibility down their supply chains. This tool will address how to build out a management system focused on continual improvement, benchmarks for employment, wages, recruitment practices, screening labor recruiters, and other practices for sustainable businesses. Since many of the emerging regulatory and legal provisions require this supply chain responsibility, the tool will be a vital resource for businesses.

Worker Voice

With better visibility into their supply chains, companies can begin to link the workers to other parts of supply chain management. The range of practical tools available to companies expands when indicators of forced labor and trafficking are layered onto existing sustainability tools. Worker-focused systems like labor grievance mechanisms, hotlines, and worker polling provide visibility into working conditions and can help companies understand whether labor protections are in place and functioning. Organizations like Project Issara, Labor Voices, and LaborLink use hotlines and polling to push worker information up the supply chain, allowing businesses to understand labor conditions and opportunities for improvements in real time.

For more information on human rights resources, visit FishWise’s website.

Meet Lindsay Jennings

Created on Tuesday, 19 April 2016

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My name is Lindsay Jennings and I am happy to announce that I have recently joined FishWise as a Project Manager in the Traceability Division. My role will be to help research and develop tools to aid the seafood industry in improving traceability, fighting illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and preventing human rights violations.

I grew up outside of Washington, D.C., so I guess you could say I’ve been influenced by government policy since I was a child. I was fortunate to take family vacations to the Outer Banks each year, where my love for the water grew exponentially. It was there that I decided that I wanted to dedicate my education and career to marine science. I completed my Bachelor of Science in marine science at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida where I had the opportunity to intern in the Florida Aquarium’s husbandry department and also visit the Bimini Biological Field Station (a.k.a. ‘Shark Lab’) in the Bahamas. Post graduation, I took a job with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute helping conduct research and water quality analysis for harmful algal blooms in Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Growing up, Shark Week was practically a religion in my household, and I often found myself thinking about the role policy and our government play in conservation campaigns. So when I had the opportunity to join University of Miami’s Shark Research and Conservation Program at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS), I couldn’t say no. While getting my Masters of Professional Science in marine affairs and policy, I helped tag and collect biological data on sharks as well as manage their databases. Subsequently, I completed a fellowship with the Marine Conservation Institute in Washington, D.C. where I worked to get legislation passed through Congress to enforce policy to combat illegal fishing. Meeting with lobbyists, environmental NGOs, and congressional leaders solidified my desire to make measurable and positive change in the fisheries sector, leading me to FishWise.

I am truly excited to have joined the smart and dedicated team at FishWise and I look forward to applying my background in policy and conservation to working with businesses to advance seafood sustainability.

Outside of marine science and conservation, I enjoy running, playing soccer, skiing, trying out different recipes or craft beers, sitting on the beach with a good book, and traveling to new places.

FishWise Partners with Salty Girl Seafood

Created on Tuesday, 05 April 2016

SGS-newlogo-09-09FishWise is proud to announce our latest producer partnership with Salty Girl Seafood, Inc. Salty Girl Seafood is based out of Santa Barbara, CA and specializes in easy to cook seafood meals with healthy recipes that are responsibly sourced and traceable.

Sourcing seafood directly from fishermen in California, Oregon, and Alaska, the business has created a set of unique offerings that include rockfish with garlic fresh veggies, black cod with sweet and smoky teriyaki sauce, and coho salmon with lemon pepper and garlic seasoning. Products come pre-marinated and frozen in vacuum-sealed packages with cooking instructions and information on sustainability.

Originally a school project, co-founders Norah Eddy and Laura Johnson met at UCSB’s Bren School and bonded over a shared passion for seafood and marine environments. The two wanted to drive seafood sustainability and address problems in the seafood industry through a realistic business model . Initially focusing on restaurants, the business connected individual fishermen with restaurants to provide fresh, high quality boat-to-plate seafood. After operating under this model for a year, the business switched directions to focus on a customer segment that seemed to be demanding something else. Interestingly, Salty Girl Seafood had begun to find that there were many individual consumers interested in buying responsibly sourced seafood directly off their website.

After regularly being questioned about how to buy and cook seafood, the Salty Girls created a value-added line that enabled consumers to have the answers to their questions on sustainability and cooking while in the store. A retail product line maintains the business’ sustainability and traceability value proposition while also making it easy for people to cook healthy and delicious meals at home. Using simple, healthy ingredients and original recipes with no chemical preservatives, a waiting list was created to manage the demand during the trial phase. Salty Girl Seafood landed its first retailer in May of 2015 and by July 2015 had completely transitioned their business model to focus on the retail market. Since then the business has steadily grown and Salty Girl Seafood products have now gained traction with both retailers and consumers wanting to buy healthy, responsibly sourced, and traceable seafood.

Salty Girl Seafood ensures they maintain personalized service for every store that carries their products. A customized marketing plan is created for each business along with demos and tabling events to make sure product is moving off the shelves.

To learn more about Salty Girl Seafood and their fantastic selection of products, please contact the business directly through their website.