World’s largest seafood companies ramp up commitment to sustainable seafood movement
During its annual CEO meeting, SeaBOS companies reaffirmed commitments to leading the way on improving the sustainability of seafood throughout the supply chain.
SeaBOS companies represent over 10 percent of the world’s seafood production and have more than 600 subsidiary companies. SeaBOS members include 10 of the largest seafood companies in the world: Maruha Nichiro Corporation, Nissui, Thai Union, Mowi, Dongwon Industries, Cermaq, Cargill Aqua Nutrition, Nutreco/Skretting, CP Foods, and Kyokuyo.
As part of the commitment, the CEOs agreed to work toward eliminating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and forced labor, protecting endangered species, phasing out the use of antibiotics, reducing plastic pollution, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Launched in 2016, SeaBOS is a partnership between seafood companies and scientific partners that has become a model of cooperation to advance ocean stewardship proactively, not only within the companies’ operations, but throughout the entire seafood sector. Sweden Crown Princess Victoria has been an active supporter of the initiative.
“SeaBOS has established a platform for driving transition in the global seafood industry," Cermaq CEO Geir Molvik said. "The unique collaboration between companies and leading scientists now yields actions and concrete results. While I am proud of what we have achieved so far, I am also eager to advance further."
SeaBOS companies have confirmed risk assessments of company operations showed no IUU fishing or forced labor activities. Member companies will now assess the risk of IUU fishing and labor abuse across the entire supply chain, and commit to working with key stakeholders to assess and reduce the risk. SeaBOS will also support a global effort to map risks of IUU fishing and forced labor at port, at sea and associated with transshipment.
Also during the 2021 meeting, SeaBOS members committed to engage in new efforts to minimize impacts on endangered species, with an initial focus on sharks, rays, and seabirds.
“SeaBOS members will identify global ‘best practice’ measures to reduce their impacts on endangered sharks and rays, as well as endangered seabirds, and extend science-based solutions to more species groups in future,” SeaBOS Chair and Skretting/Nutreco CEO Therese Log Bergjord said.
Working towards reducing the use of antibiotics in aquaculture is another of SeaBOS’ key priorities, it said. SeaBOS members agreed to an Antibiotics Stewardship Roadmap. To begin the companies agreed to form a SeaBOS antibiotics code of conduct by October 2022 and to complete surveys of operations and create a workshop by early 2022. Additionally, the SeaBOS executives committed to zero use of specific antibiotics in aquaculture operations unless there are national, jurisdictional, or region-specific regulations already in place permitting that to occur. Science-based alternatives (e.g., vaccines) will be developed to replace those antibiotics, including through collaborations with relevant experts and governments, SeaBOS announced.
Nine out of the 10 SeaBOS companies have already set their own emissions reductions targets and members agreed that by May 2022 they would all have GHG emissions reduction goals that align with the aim of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Since 2018, SeaBOS companies have achieved an estimated 131,117 tons of absolute CO2 emissions reductions.
SeaBOS committed in 2016 to reduce the use of plastics in seafood operations, and encourage global efforts to reduce plastic pollution. Multiple members participated in the 2021 international coastal clean-up program, and plan to extend that effort among its members and their subsidiaries.
The companies reaffirmed SeaBOS' “city to sea” strategy and agreed to report on plastics footprint assessments, as well as efforts to reduce or replace plastics in their operations by October 2022.
“SeaBOS members will develop a more strategic approach to help build and promote better ocean governance, with added resourcing in the coming year to address those issues specifically,” SeaBOS Vice Chair and Thai Union CEO Thiraphong Chansiri said.