Sustainable Fisheries Partnership says route to sustainable coldwater crab is through buyers

Published on
May 30, 2018

A recent report released by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership says that achieving their “Target 75” (T75) goal for coldwater crab is in reach, and could be met if buyers used their influence on the fishery. 

SFP’s Target 75 Initiative, announced at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in 2017, is aiming to see 75 percent of the world’s seafood as either sustainable or within a fisheries improvement project aiming for sustainability by 2020. Their latest look into coldwater crab has shown that roughly 44 percent of global production is already classified as sustainable or improving, and that number could climb with the influence of buyers. 

“Substantial progress toward T75 could be made in a short amount of time if buyers of these products would request that their suppliers immediately engage in MSC full assessment or a fishery improvement project,” states the report. 

The primary targets for increased sustainability, the report said, are fisheries that have existing FIPs that aren’t making progress, those that existing supply-chain participants have identified sustainability as an interest, and those that the SFP believes are likely candidates for improvement projects. Those fisheries “account for 88,000 [metric tons] of production, 21 percent of the global total,” according to the report. 

According to the SFP, roughly 21 percent of the crab fishery is located in markets that are already engaged in sustainability efforts, such as the United States, Canada, and Europe. If buyers use their leverage to influence the supply chain, the fishery will be well on its way to the 75 percent target. 

“New or increased effort by buyers in these markets is required to activate supply chain leverage over the additional fisheries that are needed to close the gap to T75,” the report said. “Buyers of these coldwater crabs should request that their suppliers immediately engage in MSC full assessment or a FIP.”

If those efforts are undertaken, the last 10 percent required to reach the T75 goal could be achieved by “expanding formal improvement efforts to European and Japanese fisheries,” according to the report. 

“There is work to be done with coldwater crab, but the areas of improvement are largely in markets that are already interested in sustainability,” SFP Founder and CEO Jim Cannon said. “That means the motivation to improve is already there, which bodes well for the future of the sector.” 

Photo courtesy of Rolf G Wackenberg

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