‘Sustainability, Environment and Eco-labelling’ was the theme for Session IV of the Tuna Trade Conference. Chaired by Mr Audun Lem, Deputy Director, Policy and Economics Division, FAO, the afternoon was enlivened with presentations by Dr Darian McBain, Director of Sustainable Development, Thai Union Group PLC (Thailand); Ms Ingrid Giskes, Global Head of Campaign , World Animal Protection/Chair of Global Ghost Gear Initiative (Australia); Mr Gavin Bailey, Director of Responsible Sourcing, Walmart (USA); and Mr Matthew Owens, Director of Sustainability, Tri Marine Management Company LLC (USA).
Dr McBain (“Staying ahead with sustainability : Thai Union’s Development of Fishing Vessels Improvement Programme and Vessel Code of Conduct”) presented an interesting case study on the company’s use of digital technology for traceability and as a means of having the voices of workers heard.
In 2009, FAO estimated that at least 640 000 tonnes of fishing gear is abandoned, lost or discarded in our oceans every year, said Ms Ingrid Giskes, whose presentation was entitled “The Global Ghost Gear Initiative Best Practice Framework”. The Global Ghost Gear Initiative was launched in 2015 to ensure safter, cleaner oceans by driving viable solutions to discarded fishing gear. To date, 79 organisations are part of the Initiative.
“Charting the way ahead for sustainable seafood: why partnership is the new leadership” by Gavin Bailey was on Walmart’s focus of creating economic opportunities, ensuring sustainability in products and processes, as well as strengthening local communities. Overfishing, IUU fishing, forced labour, health and safety, climate change, and food security are some of the top industry concerns which Walmart shares. The seafood map followed by Walmart contains clear steps which guide the sourcing of foods so that consumers are assured of buying food which is untainted by labour abuses in addition to being sustainably caught .
Mr Matthew Owens, who spoke on “Transparency, collaboration, and the market for sustainability” spoke about various initiatives such as the Global Watch platform for the sharing of VMS data, implementing a Seafood Task Force Code of Conduct’ and addressing the evolving and significant problem of plastic pollution in our oceans (mostly caused by discarded fishing gear and drifting FADs). He ended by mentioning the increasing profitability for certified sustainable goods in international markets.
The second day of the 15th INFOFISH World Tuna Trade Conference ended with a panel discussion, entitled “Certification and Sustainability Efforts” . Discussants were Paolo Bray (Funder and Director of World Sustainability Organisation); Bill Holden (Senior Fisheries Manager Oceania & SE Asia, Marine Stewardship Council, Australia); Susan Jackson (President of ISSF, USA); Henk Brus (Managing Director, Pacifical, the Netherlands; Oliver Knowles (Senior Adviser, GREENPEACE); and Sven Blankenhorn (SE Asia Fisheries Consultant, Fair Trade USA).