Today, five of the most influential industry and multi-stakeholder platforms in the seafood sector have released a joint statement calling for action to combat the scourge of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. In their “Statement on Traceability and Port State Measures,” the groups call for a combination of private sector and government actions to help transform the transparency and accountability of seafood supply chains and block landings of IUU catch. The five groups releasing the statement are Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS), the Global Tuna Alliance (GTA), the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST), and the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) Taken together, these platforms include over 150 companies from across the seafood value chain, making this one of the largest seafood industry calls for action on record.
Recognizing the urgent need to address a major threat to ocean ecosystems and the livelihoods of coastal communities, the joint statement calls on companies worldwide to endorse groundbreaking new industry standards released by the GDST last year as the foundation for a worldwide system to improve seafood traceability and calls on governments to ratify and implement robust control measures aligned with the Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA), a powerful international treaty that requires port inspections and other measures to prevent IUU catch from being brought ashore. Taken together, these actions would go far in preventing IUU catch from reaching markets or even being landed in the first place.
“There must be nowhere to land and nowhere to sell fish and seafood that is caught illegally,” said Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean and Co-Chair, Friends of Ocean Action. “I applaud this initiative by seafood sector leaders, urge others to support their efforts in 2021, and call upon all countries to work towards full implementation of FAO’s Port State Measures Agreement. Ending illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing is essential to ensuring a sustainable blue economy and the maintenance of a thriving ocean. I wish to emphasize that this is a critical target of the Sustainable Development Goal for the Ocean, SDG14.”
“Sustainable seafood, including tuna, is paramount to our customers and thus to our business, and eliminating IUU is an essential precursor of sustainability. Accordingly, we are enthusiastic to support this collaboration – both as METRO but also on behalf of the Global Tuna Alliance (GTA). Being a member of the GTA, we are committed to improving supply chain interoperability and ensuring that the fish we sell is legally sourced. Adopting the GDST standards, and the implementation of robust port state measures will help us achieve this.” Andrea Weber, Director Corporate Responsibility, METRO AG; Industry Chair of the GTA.