Real Time Data awarded funding to expand pilot electronic logbook project; Blueyou launches animal welfare policy

Fishers in Myanmar catching fish under Blueyou standards
Fishers in Myanmar catching fish under Blueyou standards I Photo courtesy of Blueyou
8 Min

SeafoodSource is closely following the sustainable seafood movement by compiling a regular round-up of sector updates about sustainability initiatives and certifications.

- Fishery software company Real Time Data (RTD) has been awarded funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to expand its pilot electronic logbook project to Gulf of Alaska fixed gear groundfish fisheries. The project will get underway during the 2024 halibut and sablefish season.

Fishermen currently reporting on paper in Alaska’s halibut and sablefish fisheries are eligible to participate. The program will allow for up to 60 fishermen to have the opportunity to acquire equipment and RTD’s flagship electronic logbook software, Deckhand, free of charge for the 2024 and 2025 seasons, the organization said. 

“The first year of this project proved to be a success based on feedback from industry,” RTD U.S. manager and Commercial Fisherman Lange Solberg said in a release. “Captains were able to complete their reports in a fraction of the time it took to do so on paper using Deckhand. With new catch data features in addition to reporting that have never before been seen in the wheelhouse, this next phase of the project will be a paradigm shift. I’m grateful to see this program expand with ongoing support from fishermen, project partners, and NFWF.”

- Zurich, Switzerland-based seafood company Blueyou launched its animal welfare policy within its sustainable seafood portfolio. The policy was created in collaboration with the Aquatic Life Institute.

“Blueyou’s visionary and clear animal welfare policy is the strongest example that we have seen to date from a major seafood company,” Aquatic Life Institute Managing Director Sophika Kostyniuk said in a release. “Their specific language around minimizing animals’ stress and suffering, educating the supply chain around them to create a domino effect, and a commitment to publicly reporting on progress is an excellent model for other seafood companies to adopt. We applaud Blueyou for taking this significant step forward in its business priorities.”

As part of its 10 new impact policies, Blueyou recognizes the role of animal welfare and health in sustainable food production. It is committed to improving the conditions of species as they are raised and caught in its supply chains.

- The Global Seafood Alliance (GSA) released a report, “Exploring current best practices for the provision of Wi-Fi to crew on fishing vessels at sea,” exploring the issue of Wi-Fi onboard fishing vessels for crews at sea, including recommendations for action.

“Connectivity onboard vessels for all members of crew, domestic or foreign, is a key component of crew welfare and well-being. The ability to contact family members when they wish is a significant way to lessen the frustration of being away from loved ones. It also provides the facility to raise a real-time grievance should that be required,” Scottish White Fish Producers Association CEO Mike Park said in a GSA release.

The report provides insights into private sector and NGO efforts from organizations such as Thai Union, Human Rights at Sea, Integrated Monitoring, and Geeks Without Frontiers (GWF). GWF, which is a nonprofit entity, has researched the advantages and potential of connectivity at sea within Thai and Fijian fisheries. 

- Ocean Outcomes (O2) announced a new partnership with the Taiwan Tuna Longline Association (TTLA) to improve crew welfare and advance environmentally friendly fishing practices on the region’s independent longline tuna-fishing vessels catching albacore, bigeye, and yellowfin tuna in the Pacific Ocean.

The partnership serves as an opportunity to engage and drive change across vessels.

- Redondela, Spain-based seafood company Nueva Pescanova published its analysis of main industry players’ performance in terms of governance and strategy, social responsibility, ecosystems, and traceability.

The analysis has found that Nueva Pescanova Group itself obtained the best results in product traceability and the group places sustainability at the center of its business model and general strategy, which includes objectives, deadlines, and progress on topics ranging from climate, social inclusion, and nutrition, among others.

“The report highlights the independent studies on the environment and biodiversity carried out by the company, with which it is possible to identify strengths and opportunities to define new mitigation and compensation actions to continue advancing in its sustainable performance and responsibility,” the company said.

- The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) announced the inauguration of its NFI Sushi Council. 

The council will develop and distribute food safety guidance tailored toward sushi’s specialized supply chain, the organization said.  

"It’s always exciting to see committed companies recognizing the importance of precompetitive collaboration. In this case, we have leaders in a specific sector who have coalesced around the idea of raising the food safety bar. It’s an important focus that will pay dividends on a number of levels," NFI President and CEO Lisa Wallenda Picard told SeafoodSource.

The council will leverage its compliance documents and expert insights from stakeholders to create resources for seafood professionals at every stage of the supply chain – from fish farms and processing plants to the sushi counter.

-The Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST) announced Seafrigo, DNV, and OpsSmart have joined the organization. It now exceeds 50 partners and represents 15 countries, which all have committed to transforming the sustainability of global seafood supply through digital traceability, the organization said in a release.

"We are thrilled to welcome our new GDST Partners and leverage their expertise to enhance the GDST Foundation’s vision for global, interoperable traceability in seafood," GDST Executive Director Greg Brown said in a release. "Their contributions will be instrumental in shaping the future of our global standard and driving positive change throughout the seafood industry."

GDST also announced that Seafrigo will be joining GDST’s supervisory board as its 13th member and will work to oversee and guide GDST’s direction.

“Seafrigo Group is proud and excited to join the supervisory board of the GDST, participating and contributing toward the transformation of global seafood supply,” Seafrigo Contract Logistics Global Head of Business Development Alfred Whitman said in a release. “We’ll work to promote and reinforce the GDST standards by leveraging our superior seafood logistics capabilities. With a footprint now spanning 28 countries and territories, our company looks forward to adopting the GDST standard and working with all stakeholders to boost digital seafood traceability – from harvest to fork”.

- Geneva, Switzerland-based global agribusiness and food company Bunge Global SA announced its executive leadership team for the combined Bunge and Viterra business, following the companies' merger.

The joint company will be led by Greg Heckman, Bunge's CEO, and John Neppl, Bunge’s CFO. Viterra CEO David Mattiske will become co-COO along with Julio Garros, who has served as Bunge co-president of agribusiness, the companies said in a release. 

"The future combined company will expand its reach into more crops and countries, offering farmers greater market access and differentiated, value-added solutions in all key origins," Heckman said. "Food, feed, and fuel customers will benefit from a broader product portfolio and expanded global supply options. Creating the co-COO positions ensures we have the right level of leadership focus on the multiple commercial and operational streams so that we identify the strengths of our current organizations and leverage them globally as we come together as 'One Bunge.'"

- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) have announced their joint funding of four new Centers for Oceans and Human Health. They also announced the renewal of two centers as part of a marine-related health research program. 

The centers will focus on different aspects of the interplay between environmental science, climate change, and human health in the ocean, as well as in the Great Lakes, with a particular focus on lessening marine pollution. Together, both agencies will invest more than USD 42 million (EUR 39 million) over five years toward the project.

“We know very little about what microplastics or even smaller pieces of plastics, known as nano-plastics, can do to human health in the short or long term, or even what they can do to the health of sea turtles and other animals that live in the ocean,” NIH Program Lead Anika Dzierlenga said in a release. “The connection among ocean pollution, climate change, and human health are problems that we are only beginning to understand. People rely on oceans and lakes for jobs, food, tourism, and recreation. These centers will help bring researchers and community groups together to study and take action to protect public health in coastal regions and around the Great Lakes.”

 - The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) announced it has ratified the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing. 

The Nitijela, which is the legislative body of the RMI, passed the resolution on 12 April 2024.

The agreement is the first binding agreement targeting IUU fishing in the republic. Its objective is to prevent, deter, and eliminate IUU fishing by preventing vessels engaged in such activities from using ports and landing its catches.

“The Marshall Islands Marine Resource Authority's [MIMRA] capacity was progressively developed under the guiding principle of ‘act first, formalize later.’ This strategy facilitated the establishment of critical systems and procedures that were required not only to fulfill but exceed the requirements of the agreement,” MIMRA Oceanic Division Chief Fisheries Officer Beau Bigler said in a release.

- The Global Tuna Alliance (GTA) announced that fish-processing company Meiho, based in Shiogama, Japan, has become the GTA’s latest partner and its first in Japan.

“We’re delighted that Meiho has demonstrated their commitment to a future of sustainable, socially responsible tuna fishing by joining forces with the Global Tuna Alliance,” GTA Japan Outreach Officer Gunther Errhalt said in a release. “This is a major breakthrough for the GTA, which has been seeking to connect with seafood market players in Japan since its inception.”

- Nutreco announced that all of its facilities will purchase electricity solely from renewable sources for now on. The initiative is expected to reduce Nutreco’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions by approximately 22 percent, or approximately 90,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, the company said in a release.

Nutreco’s operations currently use 100 percent green electricity in eight countries – Ecuador, Spain, Chile, Portugal, Turkey, Brazil, Germany, and Guatemala. 

 “This decision is a clear reflection of Nutreco’s commitment to reducing our emissions as we pursue our purpose of 'Feeding the Future.' Our priority will always be to consume less energy, and our teams across the globe are working very hard toward this goal. This move toward renewable electricity accelerates our transformation and positive impact,” Nutreco Chief Supply Chain Officer Claudio Cervellati said. 

Specifically, its target is to switch to renewable electricity by the end of 2024 in all of Nutreco’s markets where green electricity sources are accessible. The next priority is to move toward green electricity in Norway, the U.S., Vietnam, China, and Canada, the company said in a release.

- Dongen, the Netherlands-based insect protein and ingredients company Protix announced it has achieved greater measured sustainability in its processes.

A new report conducted by the German Institute of Food Technologies shows Protix's profound positive impact and unveils the outstanding results of a new life cycle assessment (LCA).

“We take pride in leading innovations within our industry on a pathway to low-footprint/no-footprint proteins,” Protix CEO Kees Aarts said in a release. “With our previous LCA, we shared the vision that the environmental footprint of our black soldier fly ingredients could be reduced, and we have lived up to that promise: the latest DIL figures once again demonstrate an improvement in the footprint of our Protix ingredients. We look forward to translating these LCA numbers into new commercial opportunities to help our customers produce better and greener.”

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