Only a small fraction of global octopus fisheries can be classified as sustainable or improving, but national-level fishery improvement projects (FIPs) could have a big impact on those numbers, according to the newest report on the global octopus sector released by Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP).
The report, released today, is the latest sector report focused on SFP’s Target 75 Initiative, a global movement launched last year that sets the goal of seeing producers of 75 percent of the world’s seafood operating sustainably or improving toward sustainable production by the close of 2020.
According to the report, about 0.01 percent of octopus product comes from fisheries that count as sustainable or improving, but several octopus fisheries have received certification and praise for proper management. While these examples are small ones, the report suggests that similar management practices applied elsewhere will generate real results.
“The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified Asturias fishery is a clear example of octopus fisheries being managed sustainably and outlines a management model that can be replicated,” the report’s authors wrote. “In addition, the giant Pacific octopus fishery in Alaska is green-listed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program, providing an additional model of good management.”
The report suggests national-level FIPs could influence as much as another 35 percent of global production. The industry should engage producers in China and Vietnam. Along with domestic markets there, buyers in key export markets for those countries, such as those in Japan and South Korea, are in an ideal position to influence production and management practices.
“The octopus sector clearly has a long way to go on the road to sustainability but it’s possible to make significant progress. If companies that buy and supply octopus are willing to promote improvements among producers it should be possible to make rapid gains, said Jim Cannon, SFP’s Founder and CEO.
SFP strongly recommends industrial collaboration to assist with ongoing sustainability work. SFP staff will be hosting a meeting of interested stakeholders to discuss ongoing collaborations, coinciding with Seafood Expo North America in March in Boston, Mass. to discuss these collaborations.
Many key buyers are already involved with these Target 75-related discussions. Andre Brugger, Sustainability and Compliance Manager at Netuno, said:
“SFP offers a road map and a unique opportunity for companies like ours to work together to influence the whole octopus sector, and also to ensure the availability of octopus from responsible sources in volumes that will cover both present and future demand.”
Juan Miguel Azpeitia, General Manager at Margalicia, said:
“For any Spanish company like ours supplying markets like the US or northern Europe, SFP’s Target 75 initiative is a beacon we can follow to ensure the long term viability of our business.”
Contact: Sean Murphy, SFP Communications Director