Menhaden is one of the species used for fishmeal.

Southeast Asia 'holds the key' to sustainable reduction fisheries

Southeast Asia holds the key to improving the sustainability of reduction fisheries, which provide the bulk of the fishmeal and fish oil for the global aquaculture feed industry, according to a new report.

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The report is focused on SFP’s Target 75 Initiative to improve sustainability in the global seafood industry.

About 41 percent of global reduction fisheries can be classified as sustainable or improving, according to the latest sector report released by Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP).

The report is focused on SFP’s Target 75 Initiative, a global movement launched last year that sets the goal of seeing producers of 75 per cent of the world’s seafood operating sustainably or improving toward sustainable production by the close of 2020.

Much of the currently sustainable or improving fisheries lie in the Atlantic/Pacific reduction fishery sub-sector, meaning work to improve the global sector should focus more on other regions.

“While Target 75 for the sector overall can only be achieved by expanding improvement efforts in Asian reduction fisheries, the path to close the gap to T75 is not yet clear. Higher-volume multispecies trawl and small pelagic fisheries must be investigated to identify the most likely candidates to contribute to improvement in this sector,” the report’s authors wrote.

Blake Lee-Harwood, strategy director at SFP, said: “Reduction fisheries in South America and the North Atlantic have made steady progress but there is a real challenge in achieving improvements within Asian fishmeal fisheries and that’s where efforts need to be concentrated. Improving the sustainability of mixed species trawl fisheries is not going to be easy but it’s a journey that has to be taken.” 

To promote positive changes in the global sector, SFP recommends the use of supply chain roundtables (SRs) such as the European Sustainable Fishmeal, Latin American Reduction Fishery, and Southeast Asian Reduction Fishery SRs, which work to organise multiple Fisheries Improvement Projects in a sector, thereby streamlining the work required to improve sustainable seafood production.

More information about Target 75 can be found here.