A key part of SFP’s approach is to mobilize improvements in as much of the world’s production as fast as possible and create leadership on conservation issues by retailers, the seafood industry, producers, and others with a stake in the future of the world’s fisheries. Seafood retailers, foodservice companies, and the entire seafood supply chain have an important opportunity to take action to address bycatch and reduce their impacts on ocean wildlife.
While most retailers have already committed to not buying any species on the IUCN Red List of endangered species for their main supply, bycatch presents an additional challenge if endangered, threatened, and protected (ETP) species are being unintentionally impacted during the harvest of target species. For seafood retailers that have commitments on sustainable sourcing or biodiversity protection, participating in production that leads to the decline of vulnerable wildlife through bycatch will breach these commitments. In addition, engaging in practices that harm marine species, or sourcing from fisheries that do so, will generate significant concern and negative reactions from consumers and civil society toward retailers, seafood companies, and producers.
What can companies do?
SFP is developing tools and programs that will give seafood companies an opportunity to make a difference on the urgent need to reduce bycatch in commercial fisheries.
Companies can commit to a bycatch audit of the fisheries they source from, to identify those fisheries that pose the greatest risk to endangered, threatened, and protected species, and recommend actions to reduce these risks. SFP, Birdlife International, and Whale and Dolphin Conservation recently collaborated with UK supermarket chain Asda to conduct the first systematic audit of the impacts of a company’s seafood business on ocean wildlife.