SeaBOS chair Therese Log Bergjord:

Seafood giants strengthen sustainability pledge

Salmon farmers Mowi, Cermaq and Nissui – which owns Chilean company Salmones Antarctica - have committed to a set of time-bound and measurable goals that will ensure the seafood industry becomes more sustainable.

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They are among 10 of the world’s largest seafood companies making the commitment following four years of dialogues through the science-industry initiative Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS).

Feed manfacturers Cargill Aqua Nutrition and Nutreco/Skretting have also signed.

‘Situation is critical’

“SeaBOS is rising to the challenge,” said Therese Log Bergjord, newly elected chair of SeaBOS and chief executive of Skretting, in a press release.

“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.”

SeaBOS is a 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. 

The other SeaBOS members are Maruha Nichiro Corporation, Thai Union, Dongwon Industries, CP Foods, and Kyokuyo.

Use of antibiotics

By the end of 2021, the SeaBOS members will:

  • Eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and forced, bonded and child labour in their 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

Climate change impact

SeaBOS members acknowledge that climate change is having a significant impact on seafood production and that they can all help alleviate that through their own emission reductions targets and advocacy for implementation of the Paris Agreement. 

They highlight 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.

Unprecedented commitment

Professor Jan Bebbington, director of the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business at the University of Lancaster, and a key collaborator in the SeaBOS initiative, said the commitments by chief executives represented an “unprecedented commitment to sustainability”.

Professor Henrik Österblom, science director for the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and one of the instigators for the development of SeaBOS, said: “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.”