How FishWise is Tackling IUU Fishing

Created on Thursday, 13 December 2018

By Lindsay Jennings, M.P.S., Senior Project Manager

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a long-standing issue that is not constrained by a country’s boundaries and is not species-specific, thus its repercussions manifest in both national and international waters. Subsequently, IUU fishing is a complex issue that cannot be solved by a single party.

FishWise recognizes that IUU fishing is a challenge and has been working to tackle this issue, with our partner, Albertsons Companies, and their supply chains. Albertsons Companies acknowledges that multi-stakeholder communication and action must occur to effectively combat IUU fishing. This is why we have chosen to work with a select group of shelf-stable tuna and fresh & frozen suppliers to undertake a collaborative review, or ‘Protocol Review,’ of the practices and policies in place which support robust traceability and legality throughout select seafood supply chains.

Traceability is an essential tool for ensuring seafood is coming from legal and verifiable sources. By working with suppliers through the Protocol Reviews and identifying traceability practices and policies, FishWise and Albertsons Companies were able to highlight how select seafood suppliers are mitigating potential IUU fishing risks and identifying further opportunities to strengthen supply chain traceability and legality.

Based on recent product-level risk assessment results, we helped Albertsons Companies select specific seafood products for analysis. After evaluating supply chain documentation (e.g. Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) Catch Certificates, bills of lading, invoices, vessel registrations, etc.), FishWise crafted tailored findings and recommendations which were then reviewed by both Albertsons Companies and the suppliers.

There were a number of strengths found across the finalized Protocol Reviews, highlighting that some suppliers already have systems and practices in place to ensure the traceability of their seafood products. Some of those strengths include:

  • Many key data elements (such as species name, container and lot numbers, and dates) matched across supply chain documentation.
  • Completed SIMP Catch Certificates were supplied upon request.
  • Detailed vessel level information for all finalized Protocol Reviews was provided.
  • Harvest vessels were not found on global IUU fishing blacklists.
  • Where transshipment took place, detailed information about the transshipment (port of unloading, name and identification number of the vessel, and dates) were provided for verification purposes.

These Protocol Reviews provided Albertsons Companies greater insight into its own supply chains and offered suppliers tangible ways to strengthen their own counter-IUU fishing practices and engage with their direct suppliers.

In alignment with its policies and supplier expectations as well as industry best practice, FishWise recommends that all its suppliers aim to:

  • Consistently record critical pieces of information (i.e. key data elements) across all supply chain documentation.
  • Ensure that vessel registrations and/or licenses are available upon request for cross-referencing against global IUU fishing blacklists and national vessel registries.
  • Record, in granularity, harvest areas of products sourced for purposes of verifying legality (in accordance with the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions’ Common Vision for Sustainable Seafood).
  • Make public any counter-IUU fishing policies as well as supplier expectations, or at a minimum, make available upon request.

Beyond highlighting strengths and challenges in shelf-stable tuna and fresh & frozen supply chains, these exercises aim to provide opportunities to open dialogue and form closer relationships between our retail partners and seafood suppliers, paving a path forward for improved collaboration across issues beyond IUU fishing.

These Protocol Reviews, along with FishWise’s additional traceability and social responsibility work, aim to support Albertsons Companies’ Responsible Seafood Program and highlights the company’s ongoing progress towards its Traceability and Social Responsibility Policy and Commitments.

FishWise would like to acknowledge and thank the vendor partners for their willingness to participate in these exercises over the past months. Their continued engagement helps advance efforts to combat IUU fishing and strengthen traceability within global seafood supply chains.