New tool helps seafood companies fight illegal fishing
In a global seafood market where consumers are increasingly concerned with sustainability, wholesalers and retailers need more precise tools to ensure that the fish they are selling has been caught in the right way. responsible and legal. This is especially important given that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing costs the global economy up to $ 23.5 billion per year in lost income and jobs, while threatening security. food and livelihoods and skewing scientific assessments of fisheries.
These conditions were the origin of a 2017 code of practice to help the seafood industry verify the sources of the products it sells, and now this code will be even more effective with the publication of ” an accompanying implementation toolbox.
The 2017 publicly available specification, PAS 1550: 2017, was developed by The Pew Charitable Trusts in collaboration with the Environmental Justice Foundation, Oceana and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) with support from Oceans 5 and the seafood industry.
The recently launched PAS Toolkit includes free access to the specification (which previously required an access fee) and an implementation guide with easy-to-use flowcharts that show, for example, how to trace seafood to ‘at their origin. Together, the specification and the toolkit provide recommendations to buyers and seafood companies, as well as guidance on exercising due diligence and undertaking risk assessments to minimize the risk of any caught seafood. illegally enter their supply chains.
The role of seafood markets in mitigating risks in the supply chain
The seafood industry and market continue to face multiple challenges in ensuring that seafood comes from legal, ethical and sustainable sources, from point of capture to consumption. The PAS was originally developed to address the risks that importers and processors of seafood and marine ingredients, such as fishmeal used in animal feed, must take into account when making implementation of the requirements of Council Regulation of the European Union (EC) No 1005/2008. . This regulation came into force in 2010 to help the EU, the world’s largest importer of seafood, ensure that these imports come from legal sources. Over time, the seafood industry has increasingly recognized that while the SAP is a comprehensive resource to guide IUU risk assessment, the requirements it places on users during the assessment. of compliance were both complex and not always clear. Additionally, until recently, PAS was only available in English and required users to purchase it.
To address these challenges, PAS developers have made the standard free and will release translations in multiple languages ââin early 2022.
The new toolkit complements the PAS by supporting retailers and seafood companies through three stages of implementation along the supply chain. The first step is the Basic Practice, which establishes the framework that seafood companies need to communicate their intention to avoid IUU fishing in their supply chain and to initiate the risk assessment process in the process. part of their due diligence. The second step gives companies details on how to assess risk, improve risk mitigation, and work with government to improve policy and its implementation.
The third step is ambitious and provides an overview of what constitutes good practice once an IUU risk assessment process is established. Easy-to-use flowcharts of the different sections of the SAP allow seafood companies to delve into specific aspects of vessel behavior, traceability and working conditions within the supply chain.
The SAP and the Toolkit are not the only aids available to seafood companies seeking to keep illegally caught fish out of their supply chains. To avoid confusion and redundancy with other products, guides and standards, including the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability 1.0, the Global Seafood Alliance and the OrganizaciÃ³n de Productores Asociados de Grandes Atuneros Congeladores, the SAP implementation notes areas of overlap. And while all of these tools can help, companies should still do their due diligence to reduce their chances of purchasing IUU seafood.
By declaring in their seafood procurement policies that they do not want IUU fishing or labor abuse in their supply chains and by carrying out regular risk assessments using the SAP, seafood buyers can ensure that they do not unintentionally perpetuate IUU fishing or the sale of illegally caught fish.
Kristine Beran is responsible for the Pew International Fisheries Project and Huw Thomas is an independent consultant on seafood traceability.