Seafood and Social Development - engaging the seafood industry in the social development of seafood producing communities in developing countries 

The Loews Annapolis Hotel, Annapolis, Maryland, USA, 21 and 22 September, 2015 

Sponsors: Oxfam, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, United Nations Development Programme  

The world depends on seafood, both wild caught and cultured, for 17% of its protein supply each year and over 450 million people depend on fisheries or aquaculture for their incomes and livelihoods.  With many of the world’s stocks overexploited, wild catch has been roughly flat for the last 30 years, with the deficit made up for by the dramatic growth in aquaculture which now supplies nearly half of all seafood consumed by humans.  Most of the seafood originates from developing countries, and 80-90% of the producers are small-scale with limited or no alternative livelihoods. Environmentally, socially and economically sustainable seafood production is therefore essential to sustainable development, poverty reduction and reducing inequality. 

The seafood industry is already closely engaged with promoting improvements in the ecological management of fisheries and fish farms around the world through a range of initiatives. Fishery and aquaculture improvement projects (FIPs and AIPs), certification schemes and other mechanisms are all used to connect the seafood supply chain to improvement activities and deliver increased sustainability and environmental protection. However, the seafood industry also has the potential to deliver benefits beyond the ecological sustainability of fisheries and fish farms. Improvement initiatives can be used to increase the sustainable production of seafood with associated socioeconomic benefits, improve commercial terms for producers, empower communities, improve labour conditions, and promote gender equity, community development and poverty alleviation.

This conference will explore the potential for mobilising the seafood industry to deliver substantial social and economic benefits for communities dependent largely on fishing and fish farming. Confirmed speakers for the conference include top experts from:

  • World Bank
  • Global Environment Facility
  • UN Development Programme
  • Government of Indonesia
  • Fishing and fish farming communities in developing countries
  • US and European seafood industries
  • Marine Stewardship Council
  • Fair Trade USA
  • Aquaculture certification organizations
  • Wageningen University
  • Oxfam
  • Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP)  

The conference venue has a limited capacity and the event will be invite only; early registration is recommended.  This event has been made possible through the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation. Organisers: Blake Lee-Harwood (SFP), Andrew Hudson (UNDP), Leo van Mulekom (Oxfam)