PRESS RELEASE: USAID Oceans and Southeast Asian seafood market leaders talk value of seafood sustainability, traceability
LOS ANGELES, August 27, 2018 – Today, global seafood industry and government leaders gathered in Los Angeles to take part in an event organized by the U.S. Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia called the “Oceans Dialogue: Expanding Collaboration for Our Oceans” that focused on sustainable fishing and marine pollution. The USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans) led a business roundtable on sustainable, traceable fisheries to encourage private sector commitments ahead of the annual Our Oceans Conference, which will be held this year in Bali, Indonesia.
The roundtable discussion brought together industry and government representatives who are leading voices in the movement for sustainable and traceable seafood in Southeast Asia to ensure fish are legally caught and properly labeled. Panelists included Director General Rifky Effendi Hardijanto of Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), Roxanne Nanninga of Thai Union, Natalie Webster of the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) and American Albacore Fishing Association, Helen Packer of Anova Food USA, a tuna company, and Farid Maruf of USAID Oceans. Panelists discussed the role of industry in fisheries’ sustainability, including their organizations’ individual initiatives for sustainable, traceable seafood.
Southeast Asia is the world’s epicenter for seafood production and provides food and income to over 200 million people in the region alone. Southeast Asia is also home to numerous threatened marine ecosystems. Southeast Asia’s wild fish stocks are overexploited; combined with illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, fisheries are close to collapse.
However, growing consumer awareness in retail aisles and restaurants, particularly in Europe and North America, has created a demand for sustainable seafood and, in turn, new markets and opportunities for growth and investment in sustainable seafood production. Tracing seafood from harvest to entry into international markets is critical for these sustainability efforts as it enables transparency and accountability in supply chains, thereby allowing businesses and consumers to purchase seafood products that can be verified as legal, equitable, and sustainable.
“Thanks to our participation with USAID Oceans, we have made significant progress towards our commitment of sustainable and fully registered traceable fisheries in our supply chain,” said Helen Packer, Anova’s Science and Sustainability Coordinator. “For Anova, its supply chain and valued customers, sustainability, social responsibility and traceability are the core elements of our business model. Our goal is to ensure that marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on them thrive now and into the future.”
Each of the panelists’ organizations are currently working together through the USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership, which bridges public and private sector efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and increase Southeast Asian fisheries sustainability through enhanced digital traceability.
“The partnerships seen between the public and private sector since USAID Oceans’ launch in 2015 are truly inspiring and bring hope to a complex, multinational challenge. Industry commitments to sustainable production can contribute to saving our oceans and can also support prosperity and enhanced livelihoods not only in the region, but around the world,” said Richard Goughnour, Acting Mission Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Regional Development Mission for Asia.
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ABOUT USAID OCEANS
USAID Oceans is a partnership between USAID and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center. USAID Oceans works to strengthen regional cooperation to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, promote sustainable fisheries, and conserve marine biodiversity in the Asia-Pacific region. The backbone of the program is the development and implementation of financially sustainable electronic catch documentation and traceability systems, piloted in learning sites in Indonesia and the Philippines and adapted for regional expansion. For more information, please visit www.seafdec-oceanspartnership.org.
Richard Nyberg, USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia: RNyberg@usaid.gov
Melinda Donnelly, USAID Oceans: Melinda.Donnelly@oceans-partnership.org