FishWise Celebrates Safeway’s 2015 Seafood Sustainability Milestone

Created on Tuesday, 26 January 2016

This month, FishWise is celebrating a major milestone with our retailer partner, Safeway. In 2010, Safeway and FishWise set an ambitious goal for all of the company’s fresh and private label frozen seafood to be environmentally responsible by the end of 2015. By year-end, 77% of Safeway’s seafood by volume met the company’s 2015 commitment, including 99% of its private label frozen seafood. Over the course of our partnership, we have transitioned over 29 million pounds of unsustainable seafood to environmentally responsible sources. The 2015 sourcing commitment was only a piece of a larger Responsible Seafood Program that included support for fisheries improvements, marine protected areas, human rights engagement, and advocacy for traceability and illegal fishing reforms. Check out some of our major achievements in the infographic below!

In addition to our environmental conservation efforts, FishWise and Safeway are also dedicated to reducing the risk of human rights abuses in seafood supply chains. While complex challenges remain, FishWise and Safeway are actively engaging with other NGOs, industry stakeholders, and government representatives to improve social conditions in seafood supply chains. In 2015, Safeway introduced the world’s first Fair Trade certified seafood product, a great step forward for socially responsible seafood.

Following Safeway’s merger with Albertsons in 2015, FishWise extended the partnership with Albertsons Companies across all banners, effectively doubling the size of the program to incorporate more than 2,200 retail locations. The renewed and expanded Responsible Seafood Program will strengthen existing efforts in environmentally and socially responsible sourcing and will broaden engagement on human rights, traceability, and marketing. FishWise applauds Safeway’s efforts to date and is proud to continue our work with the Albertsons Companies to improve the safety of seafood industry workers and the health of our oceans.

Safeway Infographic

The United States Ratifies Important Treaty to Combat Illegal Fishing

Created on Wednesday, 13 January 2016


2015 was a big year for the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. President Obama signed S. 1334 / H.R. 774, the “Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015” which led to the United States ratification of the United Nations Port States Measures Agreement (PSMA).

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) approved the PSMA to ‘Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing’ in 2009, but the treaty does not go into effect until it has been ratified by 25 nations (it has been ratified by 19 nations to date). By strengthening and harmonizing port measures around the globe, the treaty will decrease the incentive for IUU fishing and help prevent illicitly caught seafood from entering legitimate seafood markets. Countries that ratify the treaty must:

1) designate ports through which foreign fishing vessels may enter

2) conduct dockside inspections following set standards

3) block entry to vessels known or believed to have been involved in IUU or those on an IUU vessel list of a Regional Fishery Management Organization (RFMO)

4) share information with the governments of vessels with IUU product, when discovered during inspection.

While the U.S. already enforces most of the provisions set forth in the PSMA, formally ratifying the treaty further demonstrates the U.S.’ commitment to preventing IUU product from entering domestic markets and will hopefully encourage other port states to implement and ratify the treaty as well.

FishWise will continue to monitor the progress of the PSMA and make a public announcement once it’s ratified by 25 nations and goes into effect. To learn more about ways to address IUU fishing, visit the FishWise Traceability & IUU Fishing Resources page.

© Harvey Spears/Marine Photobank.




FishWise Partners with Mt Cook Alpine Salmon

Created on Tuesday, 29 December 2015


mtcook logo

FishWise is proud to introduce our newest producer partner, Mt Cook Alpine Salmon (MCAS). MCAS raises high quality freshwater king salmon – a Seafood Watch Green “Best Choice” – in the cold and pristine glacial melt water of the Southern New Zealand Alps. This growing environment results in a unique taste and texture profile highlighted by fine marbling and high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. A combination of unique production characteristics has enabled this net-pen farmed salmon to receive the Green rating.

King salmon from California’s Sacramento River were originally introduced to New Zealand in the mid-1800s by President Roosevelt to establish new recreational and commercial fisheries. King salmon since became fully established and are now considered desirable by New Zealand. Commercial culture of king salmon began in 1978 and today MCAS king salmon are raised in man-made canals originally designed to provide the surrounding area with hydroelectric power. Low-density growing conditions in fast flowing water have eliminated waste build up and the need for pesticide, antibiotic, and vaccine use. Importantly, a low fish in:fish out ratio (FIFO) of 1.68:1 make them one of the best farmed salmon options available.

MCAS is a vertically integrated aquaculture operation producing 1,000 tons of king salmon every year from the original strain of California king salmon. The majority of MCAS king salmon are exported to the U.S. market and every fish arrives with full traceability back to its unique batch. The king salmon are harvested at 7-9 lbs. and are available in skin-on, pin-bone out frozen fillets and refreshed portions. The MCAS processing facility has the capability tailor products to meet customers’ needs and will consider suggested product formats. There is no minimum purchase amount and the company will point you towards the proper distributor in your region.

The future looks bright for Mt. Cook Alpine salmon as they aim to continue improving the sustainability of their operation, fine tune the food conversion ratio, increase production to 2,000 tons/year, and introduce new products to market including smoked salmon and salmon caviar. For more information please contact Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon here.



SeaWeb Seafood Summit Promotes Social Responsibility in Seafood

Created on Monday, 21 December 2015


Photo courtesy of SeaWeb Seafood Summit

With increasing concerns about unethical practices and the need for transparency within global seafood supply chains, the sustainable seafood sector raised the topic of human rights at numerous industry events over the past year. These important conversations are set to continue at this year’s SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Malta, January 31st - February 3rd, 2016. The 2016 conference program will address The Future of Production, The Supply Chain of the Future, and The Future of Consumption. Topics will focus on the success and innovation in sustainable seafood that will lead us into the future, and the challenges, strategies, and emerging issues that will shape the marketplace a decade from now.

To kick off the event, Seafish will host a workshop on Social Responsibility in Seafood. Seafish has helped the British seafood industry to become actively engaged in a series of work areas to reduce unethical practices in national and international supply chains. Recognizing that many existing and proposed initiatives from across the globe aim to tackle seafood ethics, this workshop will allow participants to consider aligning efforts made by various organizations to ensure action is complementary and synergistic. To support these conversations moving forward, the workshop will aim to produce a clear map of many of the tools and solutions available to seafood supply chains to address ethical issues.

On February 2nd, the Environmental Justice Foundation breakout session will shine a spotlight on the approaches required to secure ethical and sustainable seafood supply chains. The panel will focus on Thailand as a case study to highlight problems with regards to Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and the use of trafficked, forced, and bonded labor within the fishing industry. Attendees will learn about some of the cost-effective solutions available to producers and buyers of seafood to increase traceability and maintain labor and human rights standards throughout their extended supply chains.

Wrapping up the Summit, FishWise will team up with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Labour Organization, and industry representatives in a breakout session: Building partnerships and frameworks to address human rights and labor issues in seafood supply chains. In this two-part session, we will first highlight the importance of an international legal framework of standards and guiding principles in relation to decent work in fisheries and consider how it can be strengthened. Next, the panel will turn to the private sector to discuss how seafood businesses can engage their supply chains to make human rights improvements and form new partnerships to connect social impact to their business goals. This session will showcase how other industries have tackled labor issues, existing examples of best practices, and encourage pathways toward authentic and effective supply chain engagement via collaborative initiatives.

For more information about the 2016 SeaWeb Seafood Summit, check out the FAQ with general Summit information. We hope to see you there!



The European Union’s Fight Against IUU Goes Digital

Created on Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The Environmental Justice Foundation, PEW Charitable Trusts, World Wide Fund for Nature, and Oceana have come together to create IUUwatch, a ‘one-stop shop’ for all information and news relating to the European Union’s (EU) fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

In an effort to increase the effectiveness of the EU’s 2010 Regulation to end IUU fishing, IUUwatch provides a single point for all EU IUU and fishing labor violation related documentation, facts and figures, opinion pieces, and blog posts. The site also includes an up-to-date map of the countries that the EU has warned or sanctioned for illegal fishing activity. 

The European Union plays a critical role in combatting global IUU fishing. Current estimates are that one in every five fish is harvested illegally. This means that, globally, IUU fishing is estimated to cost between USD 10 billion to 23.5 billion annually, representing 11 million to 26 million tons of catch. As the world’s largest market for seafood products, the EU imports 60 percent of its seafood, including 90 percent of its whitefish. This buying power gives the EU both the capability and responsibility to ensure that their consumed seafood is from legally harvested, healthy fish stocks. IUUwatch is intended to offer a space for a variety of stakeholders in the seafood industry to express a broad range of opinions, and harmoniously discuss the most effective ways the EU can implement its Regulation to end IUU fishing. According to IUUwatch, the EU IUU Regulation’s success will be supported by these essential factors:

•    Establishing and increasing the use of electronic systems for catch certificates to create a structure that allows for cross-checking of factual information and prevents fraudulence in the certificate system;
•    Supporting compliance with international fisheries laws through the EU’s IUU yellow/red carding process, and continuing rigorous and routine assessments of the performances of third party countries;
•    Enforcing uniform application of the Regulation across all EU member states to establish consistency and eliminate potential loopholes where illegal catch can enter the market;
•    Mandating appropriate action by member states if their nationals are found to be engaging in IUU fishing;
•    Establishing that vessels desiring to import fish into the EU, including EU vessels, have an “IMO number”, an International Maritime Organization (IMO) unique vessel identifier;
•    Closing the loopholes that allow EU vessels to engage in IUU fishing in international waters and third countries;
•    Establishing a global dialogue with other major market states to create stringent regulations aimed at ending IUU fishing globally.

The EU IUU Regulation can be a powerful tool in the fight against IUU fishing if efforts are continued and strengthened through joint collaboration from other nations to combat this global crisis. Addressing IUU fishing involves the coordination of international governments, industry, NGOs, and consumers, and IUUwatch is positioning itself as the platform for this effort in the EU.

Flag Map of European Union wikimedia DrRandomFactor

Photo Credit: DrRandomFactor