30 big names in aquaculture sign on to call for action

Global Salmon Initiative CEO Sophie Ryan is part of an initiative to unite the global aquaculture sector behind shared goals.

At the United Nations Ocean Conference from 27 June to 1 July, 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal, more than 30 executives representing the international aquaculture sector issued a call to action to accelerate the development of purpose-driven aquaculture.

It is the first time that sector leaders from fish production, juvenile supply, feed manufacture, fish health and investor organizations, have united behind such a shared vision, according to several of the letter’s signatories, which included executives from Cermaq, Regal Springs, Multi X, Lake Harvest, Aqua-Spark, BioMar, Skretting, Cargill, Bakkafrost, Pescanova, and Benchmark.

Their call for action developed out of a global roundtable co-convened by the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) and Futurefish, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“So many high-level organizations are starting to focus on the ocean as a source of climate resilience and sustainable food, which is a good thing. However, everyone must work together if we are to harness the collective drive and passion in the aquaculture industry, and kickstart the process of  implementing change to ensure we can live up to this potential – which is to provide more food from aquaculture in equitable, responsible, and climate-resilient ways,” Global Salmon Initiative CEO Sophie Ryan told SeafoodSource.

Ryan was one of the initiators of the roundtable, which has identified a number of priority areas to meet its potential as a critical part of the global food system.

“We brought everyone together with no expectation of what might happen, but it quickly became apparent that they were all onboard with catalyzing change,” Ryan said. “We identified what needs to be done, but the harder part of turning commitments into action will now begin.”

Eight key areas were set out in the call for action, centered around four themes: learning and sharing experience, supporting development of future regulation and infrastructure, supporting technology adoption and innovation, and increasing transparent communication to stakeholders.

The letter also called for improved collaboration, better genetics, enhanced animal nutrition, pre-competitive collaboration platforms, innovative financing systems, support of aquaculture in building healthy, sustainable diets and communities, and technology transfers to help underserved regions such as Africa.

“We hope that more and more people will join us, to share learnings, challenges, and experiences. The collective industry has an ambition to see change, but it needs to start at individual company level,” Ryan said. “We’ve seen this approach work within GSI – uniting industry leaders and decision-makers, using their entrepreneurial nature to motivate ambitious action, and working together to accelerate improvements in sustainability. It’s this knowledge of a private sector change model that GSI brings to the table in this initiative, along with the learnings we can transfer to this group.”

Ryan said the roundtable’s next step will be to set up working groups around each of the theme areas to draw up action plans and set timelines.

“I estimate that it will take us two years to get things really moving, but the work is underway now. It is really exciting to have started the process of taking aquaculture onto the next level,” she said.

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