Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) announced today a new initiative to help major seafood buyers protect ocean wildlife from “bycatch” in commercial fisheries. Made possible by funding from the Walmart Foundation, SFP’s work will focus primarily on the tuna sector, one of the world’s most consumed seafood products.
“Retailers and major buyers of seafood want to understand the impacts of their sourcing on the wider ocean ecosystem,” said Kathryn Novak, biodiversity and nature director at SFP.
Bycatch is one of the most significant issues affecting the biological sustainability of commercial fisheries, and it can be difficult for major seafood buyers to determine if bycatch mitigation practices are implemented in their supply chains. The initiative will compile information by fishery on the levels of observer coverage (human and electronic), and activities in place to address bycatch of vulnerable marine wildlife, including in fishery improvement projects (FIPs) and certified fisheries.
The information will be made publicly available on FishSource, an open-access online resource about the status of fisheries. FishSource offers major seafood buyers actionable information on fisheries and the needed improvements to become sustainable.
“By making this information more accessible and visible by fishery, retailers can track and monitor progress to reduce bycatch of sharks, seabirds and marine mammals in their supply chains,” continued Novak.
The initiative builds on a report last year by SFP, also supported by the Walmart
Foundation, that found bycatch in commercial tuna fisheries in the Western Central Pacific Ocean as a leading driver of population decline in many species of sea turtles, seabirds and sharks.
“Retailers and major buyers of tuna have a role to play to reverse the decline of ocean wildlife, and we encourage improvements in their sourcing to address bycatch,” said Novak. “There are some really good examples of successful bycatch reduction, and it’s important to highlight those actions to the wider seafood industry, so adoption scales.”
Founded in 2006, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) is a marine conservation organization working toward a world where the oceans are healthy, all seafood is produced sustainably, and everyone has access to sustainable seafood. We leverage the power of seafood buyers and retailers in every part of the seafood supply chain to rebuild depleted fish stocks, reduce the environmental impacts of fishing and fish farming, address social issues in fishing, and advance economic opportunities for fishers and their communities. Our Supply Chain Roundtables (SRs) allow seafood suppliers to work together in a pre-competitive environment to promote and support improvements in fishery and aquaculture practices, management, and policy. Visit us at www.sustainablefish.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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