At the 2017 Seafood Expo North America (SENA), SFP organized a meeting with octopus suppliers to explore industry interest in pre-competitive work on octopus fisheries sustainability through a Supply Chain Roundtable (SR) model.
At SENA 2018, the SR was formalized with four participants. The SR was reconvened at SENA 2019 and grew to 11 participants. And after the Brussels Seafood Expo 2019 in March, two new participants joined the SR, bringing the total current membership to 13.
Even though the scope of the SR is global, information gathered from industry and NGO participants helped to define a set of priority countries for the SR to start working on first, while also suggesting a deeper market analysis to expand the geographic focus of the group in the future. Mauritania, Morocco, Mexico, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Peru were identified as the most likely areas to see sustainability initiatives emerging, due to existing interest, market leverage, and availability of national connections with different stakeholders.
Until last year, little progress had been made on octopus fishery improvement efforts (only 0.01 percent of global production is sustainable: Western Asturias Octopus Traps Fishery of Artisanal Cofradias), and efforts to engage the international supply chain were just beginning.
Over the last year, initiatives were launched and key fisheries are moving into improvement initiatives with the support of this Supply Chain Roundtable (SR). The key to reaching T75 is engaging Chinese and Vietnamese fisheries, which in turn requires engagement with their domestic markets, as well as export markets in Japan and South Korea.
Fisheries and/or FIPs Covered:
At present, the roundtable focuses on a number of octopus fisheries found worldwide. The SR is exploring opportunities in the Philippines, Peru, Indonesia, Portugal, and Spain.
The following pre-FIPs are supported and monitored:
Yucatan Octopus FIP: MoU signed at the SR meeting in Boston at SENA 2019
Mauritania Octopus FIP: Led by SMCP
Morocco Octopus FIP: MSC pre-assessment in progress
An overview of the octopus fisheries covered by the SR can be found here.
The SR welcomes additional participation of market-based buyers of octopus, especially those sourcing from Vietnamese and Chinese fisheries.
For an overview of past progress, click here.
- Octopuses can be a difficult resource to manage, due to their biological characteristics (e.g., high natural mortality, sensitivity to environmental conditions). Typical management measures, such as seasonal closures and minimum size limit, may not be adequate for sustainable use of some species of this group.
- Establishing management for octopus fisheries will be difficult in some regions. The artisanal and geographically distributed nature of the fisheries requires a co-management approach, which in many countries will require investments in basic fisheries management, such as initiation of data gathering, capacity building, monitoring, assessments, formal identification, and licensing of fishers, etc.
- A relevant volume of octopus is caught as bycatch in bottom-trawling fisheries known to have significant environmental impacts.
- Gather further knowledge on sustainability status of relevant octopus fisheries by developing FishSource Profiles (EU – Spain and Portugal; Latin America – Peru; Southeast Asia – China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia) and identifying a portfolio of management best practices for octopus fisheries.
- Support fully operational FIPs in Mauritania, Mexico, and Madagascar.
- Catalyze FIPs in Morocco, Indonesia, and the Philippines – including a model for improvement work in small-scale octopus fisheries.
- Expand SR participation into Southern Europe, Japan, and South Korea.
Current Action Recommendations to Interested Participants
- Join letters of support for Mauritania, Morocco, Mexico, and the Philippines to motivate national stakeholders to engage in improvement initiatives and launch FIPs.
- Connect with your vendors in Morocco, Mauritania, Mexico, and the Philippines to be part of the improvement efforts underway.
- Facilitate SFP introductions to South Korean and Japanese companies.
- Invite further participation by like-minded industry.
- Support and engage suppliers on existing FIPs.
- Identify other geographies of interest and share with SFP contact person.
Quarterly Global Octopus SR Update – April to June 2019
This briefing provides an update on progress, activities, and news in the areas of interest to the SR. It also indicates any actions and further support needed. A full summary of past progress, including details from past quarterly updates, can be found here.
1. Improvements in Target 75 Priority Fisheries
Update: SFP staff met with SMCP and FPMEDC during the Brussels Seafood Expo to request that the Fisheries Ministry make public the MSC pre-assessment and the workplan be uploaded into Fishery Progress.
Further support needed: Connect with Mauritanian vendors to keep momentum going for an implementation meeting in Q3.
Update: The consultant continues to engage with national stakeholders. SFP staff is organizing a field visit to Morocco in July to foster engagement on the FIP process. The pre-assessment is being conducted by the expert.
Further support needed: Support SFP to expand industry outreach in Morocco by introducing Moroccan vendors to SFP staff in July. Join the letter of support and contact Moroccan vendors (same action as Mauritania).
Update: The FIP is in the process of being published on Fishery Progress.
Further support needed: Support to expand FIP industry outreach.
Update: The Tinker proposal has been rejected, and a new strategy is being developed to work on Peruvian Octopus fisheries
No further support needed.
Update: In May, a consultant was hired in the Philippines to begin work on a Fisheries Octopus Data Gathering System. The national industry is being organized to formalize a cephalopod exporters association.
Further support needed: Support industry outreach for expansion.
Portugal and Spain Octopus:
Update: TheCephs and Chefs project initiative is working on stakeholder engagement.
Further support needed: Develop letters of support to Algarve and Galicia octopus fishery stakeholders for FIP initiation.
2. Support to Established FIPs and Improvement Efforts
Please find an overview of all existing FIPs and improvement efforts, their current progress rating and status here.
3. Expansion of the SR
SFP is in the process of identifying buyers of octopus from Target 75 priority fisheries in North American, European (Spain, Portugal, Italy), and Asian markets.
Update: The Spanish importers Union Martin and Foncasal joined the SR in June.
Further support needed: Facilitate introductions to Korean and Japanese buyers, as well as to other industry companies interested in current pre-FIP efforts.