At the 2017 Seafood Expo North America (SENA), SFP organized a meeting with octopus suppliers to explore industry interest in pre-competitive work on octopus fisheries sustainability through a Supply Chain Roundtable (SR) model.
At SENA 2018, the SR was formalized with four participants. The SR was reconvened at SENA 2019 and grew to 11 participants. Two new participants joined the SR after the Brussels Seafood Expo 2019 in March, bringing the total current membership to 14.
Even though the scope of the SR is global, information gathered from industry and NGO participants helped to define a set of priority countries for the SR to start working on first, while also suggesting a deeper market analysis to expand the geographic focus of the group in the future. Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Portugal, Senegal, and Spain have been identified as the most likely areas to see sustainability initiatives emerging, due to existing interest, market leverage, and availability of national connections with different stakeholders.
Until 2019, little progress had been made on octopus fishery improvement efforts (only 0.01 percent of global production was sustainable: Western Asturias Octopus Traps Fishery of Artisanal Cofradias), and efforts to engage the international supply chain were just beginning.
In 2019, a new fishery achieved MSC certification, Western Australia Octopus Fishery, and a few small-volume FIPs were publicly launched on FisheryProgress.org. Furthermore, the SR has targeted key fisheries to focus on for improvement initiatives, in countries with existing market leverage and support from national stakeholders.
The key to reaching T75 is engaging Chinese and Vietnamese fisheries, which in turn requires engagement with their domestic markets, as well as export markets in Japan and South Korea.
Fisheries and/or FIPs Covered:
At present, the SR focuses on a number of octopus fisheries found worldwide. An overview of the octopus fisheries covered by the SR can be found here. The SR is exploring opportunities in Indonesia, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Senegal, and Spain.
- Mexico Yucatan Octopus FIP: An MoU was signed at the SR meeting in Boston at SENA 2019.
The following pre-FIPs are supported and monitored:
The SR welcomes additional participation of market-based buyers of octopus, especially those sourcing from Vietnamese and Chinese fisheries.
Improvement needs, objectives, and action recommendations for 2020 are in development, and will be published after the annual SR meeting
A summary of past progress can be found in our SR Chronicles.
- Octopuses can be a difficult resource to manage, due to their biological characteristics (e.g., high natural mortality, sensitivity to environmental conditions). Typical management measures used for species with longer life cycles may not be adequate for sustainable use of some species of this group.
- Establishing management for octopus fisheries will be difficult in some regions. The artisanal and geographically distributed nature of the fisheries requires a co-management approach, which in many countries will require investments in basic fisheries management, such as initiation of data gathering, capacity building, monitoring, assessments, formal identification, and licensing of fishers, etc.
- A relevant volume of octopus is caught as bycatch in bottom-trawling fisheries known to have significant environmental impacts.
- Gather further knowledge on sustainability status of relevant octopus fisheries by developing FishSource Profiles (EU – Portugal and Spain; Latin America – Peru; Southeast Asia – China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam) and identifying a portfolio of management best practices for octopus fisheries.
- Support fully operational FIPs published on FisheryProgress.org.
- Catalyze FIPs in Mauritania, Morocco, and Senegal, including a model for improvement work in small-scale octopus fisheries.
- Expand SR participation into Southern Europe, Japan, and South Korea.
- Increase SR influence over octopus fisheries in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Current Action Recommendations to Interested Participants
- Join letters of support for Mauritania, Morocco, and the Philippines to motivate national stakeholders to engage in improvement initiatives and launch FIPs.
- Connect with your vendors in Indonesia, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines, and Senegal and encourage them to be part of the improvement efforts underway.
- Facilitate SFP introductions to South Korean and Japanese companies.
- Invite further participation by like-minded industry.
- Support and engage suppliers on existing FIPs.
- Identify other geographies of interest and share with SFP contact person.
Quarterly Global Octopus SR Update – April to June 2020
This briefing provides an update on progress, activities, and news in the areas of interest to the SR. It also indicates any actions and further support needed. A full summary of past progress, including details from past quarterly updates, can be found in the SR Chronicles.
1. Improvements in Target 75 Priority Fisheries
Update: SR participants and FIP stakeholders have shared information on the impacts of COVID-19 at the national, fishery, and market levels. The winter fishing season has not been impacted by COVID-19, because the biological rest period started at the beginning of April. However, the destination markets, especially the EU and US, have been impacted with lockdowns and closings of seafood services.
There has been no direct contact with or response from the government or Exporters Association, which is required to re-activate the FIP launch process.
Further support needed: SR participants to continue to share information about the impacts of COVID-19 at the national, fishery, and market levels.
Update: SR participants and potential FIP stakeholders have shared information on the impacts of COVID-19 at the national, fishery, and market levels. Similar to Mauritania, the winter fishing season has not been impacted by COVID-19, because the biological rest period started at the beginning of April. However, the destination markets, especially the EU and US, have been impacted with lockdowns and closings of seafood services.
The Morocco consultant has presented preliminary results on MSC pre-assessment and gave some information about the country and fisheries situation.
There has been direct contact with ministry representatives, as well as the consultant. It may still possible to re-start the conversation by the end of the year and launch the FIP at the start of 2021.
Further support needed: SR participants to continue to share information about the impacts of COVID-19 at the national, fishery, and market levels and promote the launch of the FIP through their national partners and stakeholders.
Update: FIP internal coordination and implementation was paused due to COVID-19’s impact on fishing communities. SFP held calls with FIP participants/stakeholders to discuss the budget and concerns and agreed on the need to increase industry outreach in the Yucatan peninsula.
The implementation work was finally resumed at the end of June.
Further support needed: SR participants to continue to share information about COVID-19’s impact at the national, fishery, and market levels. Identify and convene new Yucatan industry to engage in the FIP.
Update: The work in Senegal may be postponed to 2021, due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions.
Further support needed: SR participants to continue to share information about COVID-19’s impact at the national, fishery, and market levels. Identify national industry that would be interested in engaging in improvement initiatives.
Update: Information sharing with Cephs and Chefs project was interrupted due to COVID-19.
No further support needed.
Update: The letter of support has been postponed, to be shared with the regional government at a more opportunistic time, probably in September if there is a small recovery after the main Galician fishing and touristic season.
No further support needed.
Philippines and Indonesia Octopus:
Update: SFP’s Pedro Ferreiro wrote a blog to help engage Southeast Asian octopus buyers.
Further support needed: Increase SR influence over the Philippines and Indonesian fisheries.
2. Support to Established FIPs and Improvement Efforts
Please find an overview of all existing FIP and improvement efforts, their current progress ratings, and status here.
Update: The Mexico Yucatan Octopus FIP received a C progress rating.
3. Expansion of the SR
Update: Grupo Alfrio has joined the SR.
An open webinar to replace the Boston SENA SR meeting took place on June 16, 2020. The main topic was the impacts of COVID-19 on the main producing countries (Mauritania, Mexico, and Morocco) and the main importing markets (Europe, Japan and South Korea, and the US). SFP provided an update on the improvement initiatives, the Morocco consultant presented the pre-FIP work developed during 2019 and details on the country situation, and three SR participants presented on the impacts of COVID-19 on their businesses. Finally, a representative of Changing Tastes discussed the impact in the US market. The open webinar attracted a diverse audience of about 60 buyers, retailers (including the first EU retailer), academics, NGOs, and consultants. A recording of the webinar is available upon request.
Further support needed: The SR is looking to integrate new companies with leverage over Indonesian and Philippines fisheries, as well as trading relations with Japanese and South Korean markets. However, new buyers of octopus from Target 75 priority fisheries in North American and European markets are always welcome.