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. Two new participants joined the SR after the Brussels Seafood Expo 2019 in March, bringing the total current membership to 14.
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, Mexico, Morocco, Portugal, Senegal, and Spain have been 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 2019, 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.
In 2019, a new fishery achieved MSC certification, Western Australia Octopus Fishery, and a few small-volume FIPs were publicly launched on Fisheryprogress.org. Furthermore, the SR has targeted key fisheries to focus on for improvement initiatives, in countries with exiting market leverage and support from national stakeholders.
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 SR focuses on a number of octopus fisheries found worldwide. An overview of the octopus fisheries covered by the SR can be found here. The SR is exploring opportunities in Indonesia, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Senegal, and Spain.
- Mexico Yucatan Octopus FIP: An MoU was signed at the SR meeting in Boston at SENA 2019.
The following pre-FIPs are supported and monitored:
The SR welcomes additional participation of market-based buyers of octopus, especially those sourcing from Vietnamese and Chinese fisheries.
Improvement needs, objectives, and action recommendations for 2020 are in development, and will be published after the annual SR meeting
A summary of past progress can be found in our SR Chronicles.
- 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 used for species with longer life cycles 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 – Portugal and Spain; Latin America – Peru; Southeast Asia – China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam) and identifying a portfolio of management best practices for octopus fisheries.
- Support fully operational FIPs published on Fisheryprogress.org.
- Catalyze FIPs in Mauritania, Morocco, and Senegal, including a model for improvement work in small-scale octopus fisheries.
- Expand SR participation into Southern Europe, Japan, and South Korea.
- Increase SR influence over octopus fisheries in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Current Action Recommendations to Interested Participants
- Join letters of support for Mauritania, Morocco, and the Philippines to motivate national stakeholders to engage in improvement initiatives and launch FIPs.
- Connect with your vendors in Indonesia, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines, and Senegal and encourage them 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 – October to December 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 in the SR Chronicles.
1. Improvements in Target 75 Priority Fisheries
Update: SFP held meetings with stakeholders and SR members at Conxemar to raise interest in improvement activities in this fishery. SFP held meetings with exporters in Mauritania to trigger support for MSC data collection. SFP is planning to send out a new letter to the authorities with the support of global SR participants, retailers, exporters, and other NGOs.
Further support needed: SR participants and exporters in Mauritania to continue to push the authorities to make public the pre-assessment and workplan.
Update: The FIP was promoted during Conxemar, and MSC pre-assessment is nearly complete.
SFP is planning to travel to Morocco to convene stakeholders, authorities, regulators, and research institutions to push for their participation in improvement efforts. A stakeholder meeting will take place mid-January.
Further support needed: Support SFP in reaching out to national industry in preparation for the FIP meeting presentation in January 2020.
Update: The FIP implementer requested support to the EU-funded Chefs & Cephs project for stock assessment-related activities.
The FIP was promoted during the Conxemar seafood show in Vigo.
SR participants committed to financially support the implementation of year 1 workplan activities related to ETP species.
Further support needed: Attract support from new suppliers and buyers from national and international markets to ensure there are enough financial resources for full implementation of the FIP workplan.
Update: Stakeholder mapping is still in development, with the support of SR members. SR participants committed funds for a field trip to Senegal, with the aim of meeting national stakeholders and exploring interest in a FIP.
Further support needed: Expand SR outreach and increase SR participation by importers of Senegal octopus, and facilitate an introduction for SFP to national stakeholders.
Update: The EU-funded Cephs & Chefs project is exploring improvement initiatives in the Algarve octopus fishery.
Update: NGOs drafted a letter of support to encourage Galician stakeholders to either start a FIP or enter into MSC full assessment, to show that sustainability performance has been agreed with MSC.
Further support needed: SR participants are requested to sign the letter.
Update: Philippines octopus stakeholders met in Manila in November to review a draft of the basic FIP workplan. SR members invited their vendors in the Philippines to attend the meeting.
Further support needed: Increase SR influence over Philippines fisheries.
Update: Indonesian octopus stakeholders met in Bali in October to build consensus on the need for improvement efforts in octopus fisheries. SR members invited their vendors in Indonesia to attend the meeting.
Further support needed: Increase SR influence over Indonesian fisheries.
2. Support to Established FIPs and Improvement Efforts
Please find an overview of all existing FIP and improvement efforts, their current progress ratings, and status here.
Further support needed: None.
3. Expansion of the SR
Further support needed: The SR is willing to integrate new companies with leverage over Indonesian and Philippines fisheries, as well as trading relations with Japanese and South Korean markets. However, new buyers of octopus from Target 75 priority fisheries in North American and European markets are always welcome.