IFFO, The Marine Ingredients Organisation and the marine conservation organization Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) have announced the creation of a Global Marine Ingredients Roundtable in an effort to drive environmental and social improvement in marine ingredients.
Both organizations are inviting seafood-sector businesses interested in playing a role in motivating improvements in key global fisheries and addressing the challenge of finding sustainable new ingredients across the entire marine ingredients value chain, they said in a press release.
Olvea, Biomar, Cargill, Skretting, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, and MarinTrust have already signed up to participate, they said.
MarinTrust Executive Chair Libby Woodhatch told SeafoodSource said the new group's goals reflect those of her own organization.
“Ours is a sector that is often misunderstood and portrayed as irresponsible. A roundtable with an exclusively marine ingredients focus is an important tool to help members continue their efforts to improve global responsibility in the sourcing and production of marine ingredients in a collaborative way,” Woodhatch said. “MarinTrust has a robust suite of standards, including an Improver Program, which recognizes fisheries improvement projects in areas including Mauritania and the Gulf of Thailand, and I believe we can play an important part in the roundtable.”
SFP is a long-time advocate of roundtables – having itself innovated the concept of supply-chain roundtables, which have brought together major buyers and importers of seafood in a pre-competitive environment to promote and support improvements in fisheries and aquaculture.
“SFP is pleased to work with IFFO to convene leading companies and stakeholders through the Global Roundtable. Industry leadership and precompetitive efforts are critical to tackle a range of pressing environmental and social challenges, and help our industry partners further sustainability commitments across the full range of products that use marine ingredients,” SFP Chief Programs Officer Blake Lee-Harwood said in a release.
The roundtable will be chaired by Árni M. Mathiesen, the former assistant director-general and head of fisheries and aquaculture at the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization. Mathiesen now works as a senior adviser at the Iceland Ocean Cluster in Reykjavík, Iceland.
“The aim of the Global Marine Ingredients Roundtable is to take action based around the framework of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. It will also provide a single value chain contact point to contribute to existing platforms aimed at ensuring sustainable management of fisheries providing marine ingredients,” Mathiesen said.
IFFO Director General Petter Johannessen said the roundtable’s first priority will be West Africa, where production of marine ingredients has increased over the past decade, with associated economic and social challenges. The multispecies fisheries in Southeast Asia, which are tainted by human rights and labor abuses, are also a priority target, Johannessen said.
“IFFO believes in multi-stakeholder initiatives. We know that established FIPs across the globe have led to improved fishery management and engagement with local communities,” Johannessen said. “We expect this Global Roundtable to put forward a tangible action plan with key milestones involving relevant stakeholders, so that collective work towards the high standards expected by the industry continues.”