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 – January to March 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
Update: SFP sent a new letter, with the support of global SR participants, retailers, exporters, and other NGOs, to the Mauritanian authorities to request a meeting with the ministry. This meeting has been cancelled due to the cancellation of seafood trade shows and travel restrictions related to COVID-19.
Further support needed: SR participants to share the new letter of interest with their stakeholders (customers, vendors, and other NGOs).
Update: The MSC pre-assessment (still confidential) and preliminary work plan for the launch of a FIP in Morocco are finalized. SFP travelled to Morocco to meet with national stakeholders from government and industrial fishing associations who showed their interest and support. Additionally, a meeting took place with some octopus buyers and exporters who have also supported the initiative.
Meetings to convene artisanal fishers associations and freezing associations in Dakhla were planned in March, but have been cancelled due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions.
Nevertheless, the Moroccan authorities have to agree on the official launch date and to organize a steering committee in Morocco for formally implementing a future national FIP (such as the sardine FIP). SFP proposed that the MoU be signed at the Brussels Seafood show.
Given the important decrease in demand for octopus and the uncertainties about the next fishing season, the FIP launch may be postponed to the end of year.
Further support needed: SR participants to continue promoting the participation of their national vendors in the future FIP.
Mexico Octopus: - Mexico Yucatan Octopus FIP:
Update: SFP met with new stakeholders interested in joining the FIP.
The SR, as agreed in the December call meeting, will finance the work on Principle 2.
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: A stakeholder analysis was conducted by one of the SR members through a local consultant, in order to explore potential sustainability initiatives.
The work in Senegal may be postponed to 2021, due to travel restrictions.
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: A letter of support has been drafted and was planned to be shared and processed with SR participants in Boston, but has now been shared via email.
Further support needed: SR participants are requested to sign the letter.
Philippines and Indonesia Octopus:
Update: SFP conducted a field trip to the Philippines to coordinate with Philippines exporters to invite US-based buyers to the Boston FIP meeting, and to coordinate with the UNDP Philippines project manager, and government and industry representatives about holding the meeting in Boston.
The Philippines FIP meeting planned for Boston SENA was cancelled.
Further support needed: Increase SR influence over Philippines and Indonesian fisheries.
The Global Octopus SR annual meeting planned for Boston will be held virtually in May. Please contact SFP to join the virtual meeting and learn about octopus initiatives.
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.
No further support needed.
3. Expansion of the SR
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.