The sustainable seafood movement got its start in the mid-1990s, and the 20-year mark is a great time to look back at the impact of our work together and the challenges that will define sustainable seafood’s future.
We have a lot to celebrate. Back then, regulations designed to protect the oceans weren’t working fast enough – and fisheries that fed millions of people and supported thousands of jobs were headed toward collapse.
Since then, the work of seafood industry and conservation leaders has helped change the industry and make it radically different than 20 years ago:
- In the mid-90s, sustainability was a complication that seafood businesses had to manage. Today, it’s an integral part of doing business, with 90 percent of the North American grocery market having made sustainability commitments.
- Then, conservation groups and industry saw each other as adversaries. Today, they are rolling up their sleeves together to tackle shared challenges.
- Back then, a regulation-only approach was falling short. Today, we see signs of progress on the water.
Here at SEA DELIGHT, we’re proud of the progress we’ve seen firsthand. For example:
- Since 2009 we have participated and supported Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) globally.
- In 2012, we partnered with FIshWise in order to advance our commitment to sustainable seafood and help strengthen our role as an industry leader.
- In 2012, we founded the Sea Delight Ocean Fund, a 501 (c)(3), which mission is to support global fishery improvement projects and better fishing practices initiatives, create and promote awareness for responsible fishing practices and adequate management of the fishery, minimize the impact of bycatch and human activity on the environment; and educate the public on the need to support these programs in order to protect marine resources.
- In 2015, we worked with FishWise to create a public Sustainable Seafood Policy. The policy formalizes a framework to support better fishing practices that Sea Delight has engaged in for years.
- In 2016, we worked with FishWise and created an ambitious Traceability Policy. The Traceability Policy expands Sea Delight’s existing Sustainable Seafood Policy to improve traceability and social responsibility for all seafood products the company procures, and emphasizes continual improvements within its own business practices and throughout the supply chains that Sea Delight works with.
And we’re committed to addressing the challenges ahead:
- Protecting the human and labor rights of the workers who bring seafood to market.
- Expanding conservation efforts to reach all fisheries worldwide.
- Ensuring that sustainability claims can be verified by tracing products back through the supply chain.
SeaWeb’s Seafood Summit (June 5-7) will include a keynote address focused on the sustainable seafood movement’s first 20 years. Whether you’re going to the Summit or not, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating shared accomplishments and collaborating on solutions to shared challenges.
Those challenges are daunting, but a look back at our shared history reminds us the sustainable seafood movement has faced daunting challenges before. And we’re hopeful and confident that we will continue making progress, working hand-in-hand with our partners, together.