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 was 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 existing 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.

The following pre-FIPs are supported and monitored:

  • Mauritania Octopus FIP: Led by SMCP
  • Morocco Octopus FIP: MSC pre-assessment is in progress, and a stakeholder meeting is expected to be held at the beginning of 2020. Please contact Pedro Ferreiro or Carmen Gonzalez Valles for further information. 

Improvement needs, objectives, and action recommendations for 2020 are in development, and will be published after the annual SR meeting

Progress Update

A summary of past progress can be found in our SR Chronicles.

Improvement Needs

  • 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. 

SR Objectives

  • 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

  1. Join letters of support for Mauritania, Morocco, and the Philippines to motivate national stakeholders to engage in improvement initiatives and launch FIPs.
  2. Connect with your vendors in Indonesia, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines, and Senegal and encourage them to be part of the improvement efforts underway.
  3. Facilitate SFP introductions to South Korean and Japanese companies.
  4. Invite further participation by like-minded industry.
  5. Support and engage suppliers on existing FIPs.
  6. Identify other geographies of interest and share with SFP contact person.

Project Contact

If you would like more information about the Supply Chain Roundtable or wish to support it, please contact Pedro Ferreiro or Carmen Gonzalez Valles.

Quarterly Global Octopus SR Update – July to September 2020 

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

Please find an overview of fisheries identified in the T75 Octopus Sector Report, including those currently not necessarily prioritized by the SR, here

Mauritania Octopus:

Update: SFP is working on a new strategy to get the FIP launched by engaging national vendors in leading the initiative, to avoid delays from internal government issues. Please contact SFP’s SR lead for further explanation of the strategy being designed.

No further support needed.

Morocco Octopus:

Update: In order to launch the FIP in a timely manner, a meeting with Moroccan industry and management authorities is in preparation. Meeting findings and considerations will be used to define the next steps in the FIP launching process.

No further support needed.

Mexico Yucatan Octopus FIP:

Update: SFP provided an update on the FIP and required action during the SR meeting call on September 30.

Further support needed: SR participants to sign a letter to confirm that, by the end of 2021, they will only source from FIP participating companies implementing the traceability measures.

Senegal Octopus:

Update: The work in Senegal may be postponed to 2021, due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions.

No further support needed.

Portugal Octopus:

Update: Information sharing with the Cephs and Chefs project was interrupted due to COVID-19.

No further support needed.

Spain Octopus:

Update: Conxemar has been cancelled. SFP will explore a new approach with the partners (MSC) and SR participants about a more strategic time to send out the letter of support.

No further support needed.

Philippines Octopus:

Update: The Philippines FIP is on standby due to COVID-19. Engagement with US importers is vital to resume the launching of the FIP. SFP provided an update on activities during the SR meeting call on September 30.

Further support needed: SR participants and other interested parties are asked to connect us to any North American and EU importers of Philippines octopus

2. Support to Established FIPs and Improvement Efforts

Please find an overview of all existing FIPs and improvement efforts, their current progress ratings, and status here

Update: The Mexico Yucatan Octopus FIP received an A progress rating.

3. Expansion of the SR

No update.

Further support needed: The SR is looking 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.

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