Learnings from T75 Global Forum 2019

Created on Wednesday, 27 February 2019

On February 6-7, FishWise staff attended the 2019 Global Fisheries Forum in Miami, FL, hosted by Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP). The Forum brought many industry stakeholders together to learn about the challenges and successes of sustainable seafood production. NGOs and companies from around the globe highlighted their efforts and how they are contributing to Target 75 – an SFP initiative that is open to all interested parties. Target 75 serves as a rallying point for all those working for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. At its core is the goal: by 2020, 75% of world production in key sectors is – at a minimum – either sustainable (i.e., certified by the MSC program, or green-listed in SFP’s Metrics tool) or making regular, verifiable improvements.

The Forum included presentations on the progress that has been made to date relative to Target 75 and the challenges that remain, as well as workshops on FIPs and supply chain roundtables. FishWise attended in order to obtain relevant Target 75 updates, connect with seafood businesses, and to co-host a workshop and panel session with Liberty United that focused on labor issues in the seafood supply chain.

The workshop and subsequent panel were well-received by the attendees, with many pointed and complex questions raised afterwards. To assist businesses in navigating these questions and the complex topic of forced labor in seafood supply chains, FishWise is creating RISE – Roadmap for Improving Seafood Ethics. Developed with support from the Walmart Foundation and designed for the industry, this free, online platform will offer tailored advice for producers, processors, brands, and retailers on building, assessing, and improving socially responsible practices in seafood supply chains. RISE will officially launch in Boston, MA, at the Seafood Expo North America in March 2019.

Here are some key takeaways from the Forum:

  • Social responsibility issues such as forced labor are widespread in the seafood industry and present a significant challenge but things are beginning to trend in the right direction
  • Scaling up to national level is likely needed to maximize the impact of fisheries improvement projects (FIPs)
  • Zonal management remains both a challenge and a need when it comes to advancing sustainable aquaculture and aquaculture improvement projects (AIPs)
  • The many existing NGO pre-competitive collaborations address a broad variety of seafood sustainability topics but the collaborations remain relatively unknown or understood by the seafood industry
  • Retailers may feel that they have accomplished the majority of their seafood sustainability goals. But, retail experts implored the crowd “don’t feel comfortable that you can just check the box and move on. Much more remains to be done!” And the mid-supply chain will need to increase momentum and continuously improve the sustainability of sources